China fines tech giants for failing to report 43 old deals Reuters

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© Reuters. File picture: Alibaba Group’s logo lights up at its office building in Beijing, China on August 9, 2021. REUTERS/Tingshu Wang/File Photo

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Beijing (Reuters)-China’s market regulator said on Saturday that it would Alibaba (NYSE:), Baidu (NASDAQ:), and JD (NASDAQ: .com) failed to declare to the authorities 43 transactions dating back to 2012, saying these transactions Violated the antitrust law.

Each company involved in the case will be fined RMB 500,000 (US$78,000), which is the highest fine under China’s 2008 Anti-Monopoly Law.

Alibaba, Baidu, JD.com and Geely did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

China has been tightening its control on Internet platforms, reversing the past laissez-faire practices, and pointed out that there is a risk of abuse of market power to stifle competition, abuse of consumer data, and infringement of consumer rights.

The earliest listed transaction was an acquisition involving Baidu and its partners in 2012. The most recent transaction was an agreement reached between Baidu and Chinese automaker Zhejiang Geely Holdings in 2021 to create a new energy vehicle company.

Other transactions cited by the State Administration for Market Regulation include Alibaba’s 2014 acquisition of Chinese digital map and navigation company AutoNavi, and the acquisition of 44% of Ele.me in 2018, becoming the largest shareholder of this food delivery service.

However, the regulator stated that these transactions do not have the effect of eliminating or restricting competition.

In December last year, Alibaba, Tencent-backed China Reading Group, and Shenzhen Honeycomb Box fined RMB 500,000 for failing to report past transactions for antitrust review. This is the first time it has done so.

($1 = 6.3863 renminbi)

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