The State Administration for Market Control of China has fined Alibaba 18.22 billion yuan (about $2.78 billion) for violating antitrust laws. This is reported on the website of the regulator.
The fine amounted to 4% of the company's sales in 2019 in China.
According to the regulator, Alibaba, due to its dominant position in the market, forced small sellers to use its services, in particular, prohibiting them from opening stores on competing sites.
Alibaba said that вЂњthe punishment handed down today serves as a warning and incentive for companies like ours.вЂќ
вЂњIt reflects the thoughtful and regulatory expectations of the regulatory authorities regarding the development of our industry. This is an important action for the protection of fair market competition and the qualitative development of the economy of the Internet platform. Today is an important day on Alibaba's growth path. This is a new starting point for us, вЂњ the company said in a statement.
Chinese authorities launched an antitrust investigation into Alibaba in late December. This happened shortly after the company's founder, Jack Ma, had a conflict with the country's leadership. In particular, he said that China's regulators and state-owned banks have a вЂњ pawnshop mentality.вЂќ
According to The Wall Street Journal, the Chinese authorities decided to reduce the scale of Jack Ma's business empire. In early November, Alibaba's Ant Group unit was due to go public in Hong Kong and Shanghai, which would be the largest IPO in the country's history. However, two days before the placement of shares, the company announced the decision of the Chinese authorities to suspend its entry into the stock exchanges.