China’s market regulator is sanctioning companies such as Alibaba, Baidu and JD.com for failing to declare 43 deals dating back to 2012 to authorities, saying that the companies breached anti-monopoly laws.
The companies concerned face a fine of 500,000 yuan ($78,000) each, the highest possible penalty under China’s 2008 anti-monopoly law.
The earliest deal on the list was an acquisition between Baidu and a partner in 2012, and the most recent was the 2021 deal between Baidu and Chinese automaker Zhejiang Geely Holdings to create a new energy vehicle business.
Other deals included in the list published by the state market watchdog were Alibaba’s purchase of the Chinese digital maps and navigation company AutoNavi in 2014 and its acquisition of a 44% stake in Ele.me in 2018 to become the grocery supplier’s largest shareholder.
Last December, Chinese regulators also fined Alibaba, Tencent-backed China Literature and Shenzhen Hive Box 500,000 yuan each for failing to properly notify past deals for antitrust scrutiny.
China has rigorously curbed Internet platforms – a stark contrast to an earlier approach that aimed more at letting market forces regulate themselves, citing the risk of abusing market power to beat competition, misuse consumer data, and violate consumer rights.