Record US$2.8 billion fine slapped on Alibaba ‘an expression of love’: party mouthpiece

Published (HKT): 2021.04.10 20:52

The record 18.2 billion yuan (US$2.8 billion) fine handed to China’s e-commerce giant Alibaba was Beijing’s way of strengthening anti-monopoly measures and preventing the endless expansion of capital without any order, a state-owned mouthpiece said.

The People’s Daily, the official newspaper of the Chinese Communist Party, published a commentary that said the anti-monopoly probe and penalty on Alibaba were not to deny the important economic function of e-commerce platforms, nor did they represent a shift in the country’s support for e-commerce.

Development and regulation go hand-in-hand with each other, the mouthpiece said, in order to promote a healthy and sustainable development.

“Pulling one’s sleeve is also an expression of love,” People’s Daily said, and regulation will create a healthier environment for better development of e-commerce.

Regulators have the ability to defend the authority of the law, the newspaper said. A penalty that was equivalent to 4% of Alibaba’s revenue in 2019 was a result of regulators’ assessment based on the nature of the violation of the law, the extent and the related time period. The probe and penalty were a forceful defense of fair competition in the market, directing companies to get back on the right track while cleaning up the market, it said.

China University of Political Science and Law professor Shi Jianzhong said the penalty was appropriate, according to the anti-monopoly law. The probe of Alibaba showed that e-commerce fell under the governance of anti-monopoly, he said.

China’s e-commerce development has become more mature and e-commerce platforms banishing retailers to work with competitive platforms deprived sellers’ rights to develop their business, and suffocated the competitive environment of the market, Shi told mainland Chinese media. The record fine slapped on Alibaba was appropriate as the world’s biggest e-commerce company began forcing retailers to give up their rights to work with competitive platforms since 2015, Shi said, adding that the penalty also served an educational purpose.

Media coverage of the record fine handed to Alibaba became top searches on the Chinese internet. Netizens applauded the authority’s determination to stop any company from growing into a monopoly, and many others hoped that regulators would probe other big tech companies and e-commerce platforms such as Tencent, Meituan and Pinduoduo.

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