Chinese regulators on Saturday slapped a record fine of 18.2 billion yuan (2.8 billion dollars) on e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding after a months-long antitrust investigation that was initiated on Christmas eve last year, reports South China Morning Post.
The fine imposed by State Administration for Market Regulation (SAMR) was more than double the previous record of 6.1 billion yuan paid by Qualcomm, the world’s largest supplier of mobile chips, in 2015, said the daily newspaper.
The fine on Alibaba represents 4 per cent of its total domestic revenue in 2019, which was 455.71 billion yuan, according to the SAMR.
“Alibaba accepts the penalty with sincerity and will ensure its compliance with determination,” said Hangzhou-based in a statement.
“To serve its responsibility to society, Alibaba will operate in accordance with the law with utmost diligence, continue to strengthen its compliance systems and build on growth through innovation.”
SAMR said Alibaba abused its market dominance status to force merchants to pick sides among the various e-commerce platforms on the market, known as picking one from two, and violated the rights of both merchants and consumers.
The daily newspaper said antitrust investigation into Alibaba, part of Beijing’s efforts to tame the development of country’s tech behemoths, has been widely watched.
The ramifications may not just affect the business prospects of Alibaba but also those of China’s other internet platform companies, it added.