CCompetition officials in Hina imposed a fine of 18 billion yuan on China’s Alibaba Group, equivalent to 2.3 billion euros. The world’s largest online trading platform has used its dominant position to punish traders who have offered their goods via competing services, state media quoted the market regulator as saying on Saturday.
The highest penalty yet imposed by antitrust authorities on the Chinese internet giant raises new questions about the future of the charismatic founder Jack Ma’s Alibaba Group, which has rarely been seen in public since the fall. With his criticism of China’s financial watchdog authority, the 56-year-old has apparently angered top officials.
Ali Baba wants to accept the punishment
Xinhua reported that due to the violation of antitrust laws, the fine was set at 4% of 2019 sales of 455 billion yuan. Ali Baba said it would accept the ruling and intensify its cooperation with the authorities. The group will work to strengthen its system for compliance with the rules and “better fulfill its social responsibility”.
The unusually high penalty for competition censorship is another blow to the powerful Alibaba Group, which has expanded its activities from online commerce and financial services to areas such as logistics, entertainment and tourism. Since the influential founder Ma lost favor with the government in the fall, the company has come under mounting pressure.
In early November, authorities halted the planned initial public offering of Alibaba financial subsidiary Ant Group while citing the new rules. It should have been the largest IPO of all time. Investigators also focused on the trading platform in December when cartel watchers began investigating alleged monopoly violations.
The market regulator argued in its decision that the action taken by Alibaba against merchants who also offer to competing platforms “eliminates or hinders competition.” Affects the innovation and development of platforms. Consumers’ rights and interests will be affected.
According to experts, it can easily handle the 1 billion dollar fine imposed on Alibaba. In the last three months of last year alone, the group posted a profit equivalent to ten billion euros. However, observers said in comments that the tightened controls by the authorities did not bode well for the company.