China’s authorities have issued a CNY 18.23 billion (~RM11.5 billion) fine to Alibaba over what they consider a monopolistic practice. Beijing had initiated an anti-monopoly investigation into Alibaba in December last year – notably after company founder Jack Ma became persona non grata in government circles.
State regulators zeroed on an Alibaba practice that forces merchants to choose between two platforms, rather than being allowed to work with both, CNBC reported. The government said that the policy allowed the firm to extend its market dominance and obtain unfair competitive advantages.
The report further stated that China’s State Administration for Market Regulation (SAMR) declared that the policy “infringes on the businesses of merchants on the platforms and the legitimate rights and interests of consumers.”
In addition to the fine, regulators ordered the company to file self-examination and compliance reports to them for three years. The fine is roughly equivalent to 4% of Alibaba’s 2019 revenue.
Alibaba publicly signalled acceptance of the penalty and that it would comply with the regulators’ demands, saying that it wouldn’t have achieved growth “without sound government regulation and service.”
The company along with sister firm Ant Group have weathered considerable scrutiny from the Chinese government ever since their founder, Jack Ma, made critical remarks about the country’s regulatory system. Ma has largely stayed out of public view, only resurfacing briefly in January to address a group of teachers.
(Source: CNBC. Images: Alibaba Group.)