Alibaba fined $12.95 million for antitrust violations

Written by By Staff Writer

The three companies have been fined a total of Tk 825.5 million ($12.95 million), according to China’s top antitrust regulator. The fine, which came on Tuesday, is the largest imposed by the State Administration for Industry and Commerce since November 2014.

“Following investigations, we found the three companies to have violated the Anti-Monopoly Law because of non-compliance with non-disclosure rules and price revision policy relating to keyword marketing,” the regulator said in a statement.

“Moreover, on the front page of Alibaba’s Alipay’s China website, we found the company made misleading commercial advertisements that claimed ‘we can pay more than our competitors, whether you spend more or less’ — which may deceive customers, reduce consumer awareness and mislead them into making a contract.”

In the statement, China’s top antitrust regulator accused Alipay of “not fully committing to the anti-monopoly law and policies”

Zhang Jian, vice president of Alipay said in a statement that the company had continued to work with the regulator after a detailed discussion on Dec. 20.

“According to this, the company neither prohibited advertising, nor imposed restrictions on advertisers,” he said.

“In order to provide customers with accurate information in accordance with our directives, we will take necessary measures.”

The penalty comes more than a month after the company was accused of antitrust violations by China’s leading appliance maker, Haier.

Haier alleged that the online payment platforms of Alibaba and Tencent took excessive commissions and inflated listed prices by more than 50%.

Consumers in China will find it more difficult to withdraw money from virtual wallets until their cases are finished, according to the regulator.

“The authorities will continue to crack down on such violations,” the regulator’s statement said.

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