China slapped a record $2.75 billion fine on Alibaba Group Holding Ltd on Saturday, after an anti-monopoly probe found the e-commerce giant had abused its dominant market position for several years.
The fine, about four per cent of Alibaba’s 2019 domestic revenues, comes amid a crackdown on technology conglomerates and indicates China’s antitrust enforcement on internet platforms has entered a new era after years of a laissez-faire approach.
The Alibaba business empire has come under intense scrutiny in China since billionaire founder Jack Ma’s stinging public criticism of the country’s regulatory system in October.
A month later, authorities scuttled a planned $37bn IPO by Ant Group, Alibaba’s internet finance arm, which was set to be the world’s biggest ever. The State Administration for Market Regulation (SAMR) announced its antitrust probe into the company in December.