Alibaba Group Holding Ltd has been fined 18 billion yuan ($2.75 billion) by China after an anti-monopoly probe found the e-commerce giant abused its dominant market position for several years.
Reuters report that the fine, about 4% of Alibaba’s 2019 China revenues, comes amid a crackdown on technology conglomerates and indicates antitrust law enforcement on internet platforms has entered a new era in China after years of a laissez-faire approach.
The multinational technology company specialising in e-commerce, retail, internet, and technology has particularly come under intense scrutiny in China since its billionaire founder Jack Ma’s stinging public criticism of the country’s regulatory system in October.
China’s State Administration for Market Regulation (SAMR) announced an antitrust probe into the company in December.
SAMR said it had determined that Alibaba had been “abusing market dominance” since 2015 by preventing its merchants from using other online e-commerce platforms, which it spelt out as illegal, as it violates China’s anti-monopoly law by hindering the free circulation of goods and infringing on the business interests of merchants.
It has ordered Alibaba to make “thorough rectifications” to strengthen internal compliance and protect consumer rights.
Alibaba which will hold a conference call on Monday to discuss the penalty decision says in a statement that it accepts the penalty and “will ensure its compliance with determination”.