Heed Lessons From Alibaba Case, Chinese Regime Warns 34 Tech Giants

Heed Lessons From Alibaba Case, Chinese Regime Warns 34 Tech Giants
A logo of the Chinese multinational e-commerce, retail, internet, and technology conglomerate, Alibaba group, is pictured on a window of a stand during the Vivatec trade fair (Viva Technology) in Paris, France, on May 24, 2018. (Alain Jocard/AFP/Getty Images)

Thirty-four of China’s tech giants were summoned to a meeting in Beijing on April 13 with the Chinese regime’s top regulators, days after it imposed a record $2.8 billion fine on e-commence giant Alibaba.

During the meeting hosted by the State Administration for Market Regulation (SAMR), the Office of the Central Cyberspace Affairs Commission, and the State Taxation Administration, the major technology companies were told they had one month to rectify any monopolistic practices.

According to a statement, the SAMR told the technology companies to heed warnings from Alibaba’s case and “be fearful and respectful of the rules and discipline themselves.”

The 34 companies listed in the statement include search giant Baidu, prominent social media and video game company Tencent, TikTok owner ByteDance, food delivery app Meituan, and online shopping site JD.com.

Shares of Tencent Holdings Ltd. and Meituan recorded extensive losses after the statement, according to Bloomberg.
On April 10, the regime’s antitrust regulators fined Alibaba 18.3 billion yuan ($2.8 billion), claiming the e-commerce giant abused “its dominant position” to limit competition by retailers that use its platforms and hindering “free circulation” of goods, the SAMR said. The practice was called “choose one out of two” in the statement.

Two days later, the Chinese regime imposed a sweeping restructuring on Alibaba affiliate Ant Group, turning it into a financial holding company subjected to stricter regulatory oversight and capital requirements like other state-owned banks.

That same day, Alibaba’s shares jumped 6.5 percent, with investors likely hoping that the penalty concludes the regime’s crackdown on the e-commerce giant.

“Alibaba accepts the penalty with sincerity and will ensure its compliance with determination,” the company said in a statement. It promised to “operate in accordance with the law with utmost diligence.”

Ant Group has undergone regulatory pressure from the regime since its planned $37 billion initial public offerings was held shortly before its market debut last November.

The SAMR said inspections will continue and severe punishment will be administered if any rule violations are found in the future.

Reuters contributed to this report
Dorothy Li is a reporter for The Epoch Times, covering China's politics, international relationships, security, and society. Contact Dorothy at [email protected].
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