Chinese regulators handed tech giant Alibaba a record penalty of RMB18.2 billion after a monthslong anti-monopoly investigation.
State-run newspaper People’s Daily posted news of the penalty via Weibo on Saturday morning, which stated that the State Administration for Market Regulation assessed the fine for the company’s abuse of its favorable market position.
The regulator said Alibaba forced merchants to list products on just one of two ecommerce platforms – with no option of choosing both, CNBC reports.
The fine totaled the value of 4% of Alibaba’s 2019 domestic sales.
Alibaba CEO Daniel Zhang said the company will lower entry barriers for businesses and merchants on the platform. Zhang added that he doesn’t expect a change in the exclusivity arrangement to have a notable impact on the company.
Chinese netizens have been calling for further anti-monopoly investigations into tech companies like Tencent and Meituan.
A popular Shenzhen-based finance blogger posted, “There’s a trend of investigating and penalizing internet companies, and Alibaba won’t be the last.”
Below the post, a poll was conducted that asked users which company may get fined next, with over 60% of respondents choosing Tencent over Baidu, JD.com and Pinduoduo.
Another blogger wondered how Alibaba would split the bill. “If you do the math – RMB18 billion, 100,000 employees – you’re going to have to pay an average fine of RMB180,000 per person,” she joked.
[Cover image via @新浪科技/Weibo]