Saturday 10 April 2021 8:33 am

China fines Alibaba a record £2bn after competition probe

Chinese authorities have fined e-commerce giant Alibaba 18.2bn yuan (£2bn) over competition breaches, the largest penalty the country’s regulator has ever handed down.

The fine, which amounts to about 4.0 per cent of the firm’s home country revenues, is the latest step in a crackdown on the tech firm after founder Jack Ma criticised China’s regulatory regime in the autumn.

Watchdog the 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.

It has ordered the firm to make “thorough rectifications” to correct its internal processes and protect consumers.

Alibaba said it would accept the penalty and “ensure its compliance with determination.”

The fine continues the global trend of increased scrutiny over the business practises of big tech, with governments increasingly concerned about the power such firms wield.

A month after Ma’s criticisms were revealed, the long-awaited IPO of Ant Group, Alibaba’s internet finance arm, was suddenly pulled.

The highly-anticipated float had been expected to raise $37bn.

Then in December, China’s regulators announced the anti-trust probe into the firm.