Chinese authorities fined Alibaba 2.8 billion dollars
Chinese authorities fined Al...
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Chinese authorities fined Alibaba 2.8 billion dollars

10 April 2021
2 min.
Chinese authorities fined Alibaba 2.8 billion dollars

Largest fine in history

The company was accused of violating antitrust laws. Alibaba's actions had a negative impact on competition in the e-commerce market, the regulator said.

China's State Market Surveillance Administration has imposed a fine of 18.22 billion yuan ($2.78 billion) on Alibaba for violating antitrust laws, according to the regulator's website.

The fine will amount to 4% of the company's 2019 sales in China, which amounted to 455.71 billion yuan ($69.67 billion at current exchange rates). Alibaba must therefore pay 18.22 billion yuan ($2.78 billion), the regulator said.

The investigation confirmed that Alibaba had pursued a policy that forced consumers to use its services "without choice", the regulator concluded. "This has had a negative impact on the competitive environment of the Chinese e-commerce market", the authority said.

In March, The Wall Street Journal reported that the fine for Alibaba could be a record. In 2015, US-based Qualcomm paid $975 million for antitrust violations, the fine considered to be the largest corporate fine ever levied.

Chinese authorities launched an antitrust investigation into Alibaba in late December. Regulators were probing the company's "compulsory exclusivity" policy, in particular Alibaba's requirement that partners not work with its competitors.

The WSJ later reported, citing sources, that Chinese authorities had decided to scale back Alibaba Group founder Jack Ma's technology and financial business empire. The newspaper's sources said regulators were focusing on the billionaire's business as part of a campaign to increase oversight of the increasingly influential technology sector.

In early November, Ant Group (a division of Alibaba) was due to go public in Hong Kong and Shanghai, which would have been the largest IPO in history: the company could have raised up to $34.4 billion. However, two days before the offering, Ant Group said it had received a message from Chinese regulators that it had been suspended "due to significant issues".

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