China Hits Alibaba With A $2.8B Antitrust Fine

China has hit Alibaba, one of the country’s biggest online retailers, with a record US$2.8 billion (18.2 billion yuan) fine, after an investigation found the ecommerce giant violated China’s anti-monopoly law, The New York Times reported.

The fine, which represents 4% of Alibaba’s 2019 domestic sales, is three times higher than the US$975 million fine China imposed on US chip company Qualcomm back in 2015.

The Chinese government launched an investigation into Alibaba in December to determine whether the company was preventing merchants from selling their products on other platforms. China’s market regulator found that Alibaba’s practices had a negative effect on online retail competition and innovation. Alibaba used data and algorithms to strengthen its own position in the marketplace, resulting in an “improper competitive advantage,” China’s State Administration for Market Regulation said in a statement. The company will have to reduce its anti-competitive tactics and provide compliance reports to the government for the next three years. 

Alibaba said in a statement that it accepted the fine and pledged to make improvements to better serve its “responsibility to society.”

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