China fines tech giant for failing to report 43 old deals

China’s markets regulator said on Saturday it is fining companies including Alibaba, Baidu and JD.com for failing to announce 43 deals to authorities as of 2012, saying they violated anti-monopoly laws. .

Enterprises involved in the cases will be fined CNY 500,000 (about Rs 58.15 lakh) each, the maximum under China’s 2008 anti-monopoly law.

Alibaba, Baidu, JD.com, and Geely did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

China is tightening its grip on Internet platforms, reversing a once laissez-faire approach and citing risks of abusing market power to suppress competition, abuse of consumer data and infringement of consumer rights .

The first deal listed was a 2012 acquisition involving Baidu and a partner, and the most recent was a 2021 agreement between Baidu and Chinese automaker Zhejiang Geely Holdings to form a new-energy vehicle company.

Other deals cited by the State Administration of Market Supervision include the 2014 acquisition of Chinese digital mapping and navigation firm AutoNavi by Alibaba and the 2018 purchase of a 44 percent stake in Ele.me to become the food delivery service’s largest shareholder.

However, the deals did not have the effect of eliminating or restricting competition, the regulator said.

In December last year, it fined Alibaba, Tencent-backed China Literature and Shenzhen Hive Box CNY 500,000 each for not properly reporting past deals to antitrust reviews, the first time it had done so.

© Thomson Reuters 2021


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