He said Chinese organizers today, Thursday: The China Started an antitrust investigation against Collection Alibaba, and the technology giant’s Ant Group subsidiary will be summoned to a meeting in the coming days, in the latest blow Of the Jack Ma empire of e-commerce and financial technology.
The investigation comes as part of an accelerating campaign against anti-competitive behavior in the Internet sphere in China, and the latest setback for Jack Ma., The 56-year-old former teacher who founded Alibaba and became the most famous businessman in China.
The investigation came after China last month suspended Ant Group’s planned $ 37 billion initial public offering (IPO), which was on track to be the largest in the world, just two days before shares began trading in Shanghai and Hong Kong.
In a strongly worded editorial, the ruling Communist Party’s People’s Daily said: If monopoly is tolerated, and companies are allowed to expand in an unregulated manner, the industry will not develop in a healthy and sustainable way.
The organizers have warned Alibaba about the so-called one-of-two practice, under which merchants are required to sign exclusive cooperation agreements that prevent them from offering products through competing platforms.
The Chinese Market Regulatory Administration, SAMR, said Thursday: It has launched an investigation with this practice.
Financial regulators are also set to meet with Ant Group, the financial arm of Alibaba Group, in the coming days, according to a separate statement issued by the People’s Bank of China on Thursday.
The statement said: The meeting will guide Ant Group to implement financial oversight, fair competition, and protect the legitimate rights and interests of consumers.
Ant Group said: It has received notice from the regulators and will comply with all regulatory requirements, while Alibaba said: it will cooperate with the investigation and that its operations have remained normal.
Global markets are monitoring the investigation to find out whether the moves are politically motivated, and are regulators targeting private monopolies rather than government monopolies.
Jack Ma has remained out of the public eye since late October when he criticized the regulatory system in China, accused him of suppressing innovation in a speech that upset officials and triggered a chain of events that led to the suspension of the Ant Group IPO.
After years of indirect dealing with e-commerce, Beijing has made clear its antitrust intentions.
Last month it issued draft rules aimed at preventing monopolistic behavior by internet companies, and this month the Politburo pledged to boost antitrust efforts in 2021 and curb uncontrolled expansion of capital.
China also warned internet giants this month to prepare for further scrutiny, as it imposed fines and announced merger investigations involving Alibaba and Tencent.
Chinese Internet companies for years enjoyed unprecedented growth, and sent The latest regulatory moves are a clear message that the golden time for many of these companies is over and that no company in China can be too big to fail.