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Thursday, February 29, 2024

Alibaba, Tencent fined in China’s crackdown on monopolies

China’s market regulator on Saturday fined tech giants Alibaba, Baidu, Tencent and e-commerce platform Inc and Suning for violating the country’s anti-monopoly rules in 34 mergers and acquisitions (M&A) deals which they failed to declare illegal implementation of operating concentration, marking the latest move in the nation’s fight against monopoly, Global Times reported.

The State Administration for Market Regulation (SAMR) slapped 500,000 yuan ($78,300) on each firm for the deals they were involved in, including Beijing Baidu Wangxun Technology Co and Nanjing Wangdian Technology Co’s joint purchase of Nanjing Xinfeng Network Technology Co, Alibaba’s acquisition of the equity of AutoNavi Software Holdings Co, and Tencent’s acquisition of equity in China Medical Online Co.

The 43 cases announced were all transactions that should have been declared but weren’t. They involve a wide range of companies and a long transaction time span, the SAMR said Saturday on its official WeChat account.

“With the in-depth advancement of anti-monopoly law enforcement, the awareness of corporate operators’ concentration declarations has continued to increase, proactively sorting out and reporting concentration that has not previously been declared illegally, and actively cooperating with investigations,” the market regulator said, as per the report.

The market regulator has fined a raft of companies especially in the internet platform sector since the start of this year over their monopolistic behaviors including making M&As without seeking regulatory approval in advance and letting merchant “choose one from two,” which needs to be rectified as the country ramps up anti-monopoly efforts to secure fair market competition, Global Times reported.

Chinese food delivery platform Meituan was fined $533.5 million for monopolistic practices by the SAMR in October, marking the second-biggest fine on the Chinese platform economy since Alibaba was slapped a record $2.8 billion antitrust fine in April by regulators for exclusionary practices, the report said.

It also pointed out that dealing with undeclared cases in accordance with the law can not only help maintain the authority of the anti-monopoly law, and continuously optimize a transparent and predictable environment of fair competition, but also effectively urge enterprises to enhance their compliance awareness and capabilities, and promote sound development of enterprises and industries.

(The story has been published via a syndicated feed with a modified headline)

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