Beijing has been tightening the screws on China’s national tech champions in recent months, part of a regulatory crackdown that President Xi Jinping has described as one of the country’s top priorities for 2021.
China has ordered Alibaba to pay a record fine of 18.2 billion yuan ($2.8 billion) after antitrust regulators concluded that the online shopping giant had been behaving like a monopoly. It wiped more than $250 billion off Alibaba’s valuation since October.
Alibaba, the Jack Ma-founded Chinese e-commerce leader and one of the world´s most valuable companies, said it accepted the penalty and pledged to outline plans on Monday for bringing its operations in compliance.
The fine appeared to cap a government crackdown on major Chinese tech platforms, and Alibaba in particular, over allegations of anti-competitive behaviour and misuse of consumer data.
Since 2015, Alibaba Group has abused its dominant position in the marketwith the exclusivity requirement, the regulator said.
The fine was a record and nearly three times the almost $1 billion levied against Qualcomm in 2015, Bloomberg said.
The size of the penalty was determined after the market watchdog decided to fine Alibaba four percent of its 2019 sales of 455.7 billion yuan.
We accept the penalty with sincerity and will ensure our compliance with determination,alibaba said.
E-commerce giants Alibaba and JD.com, along with messaging-and-gaming colossus Tencent, became hugely profitable on the back of growing Chinese digital lifestyles and government restrictions on major US competitors in the domestic market.
The Wall Street Journal reported last month that Alibaba was also being pushed to shed wide-ranging media assets, including a potential sale of Hong Kong´s South China Morning Post.