The Wall Street Journal on Thursday quoted people familiar with the matter as reporting that China’s antitrust regulators are considering imposing record fines on Alibaba Group for alleged anti-competitive behavior.

According to the report, the fine may exceed the US$975 million (approximately Rs 70.8 billion) paid by Qualcomm in 2015 for anti-competitive practices. Regulators are also considering whether the Chinese e-commerce giant should divest some assets unrelated to its main online retail business.

Alibaba declined to respond to Reuters’ request for comment.

The founder Jack Ma’s business empire was severely scrutinized by Chinese regulators after it was severely criticized by China’s regulatory system in late October.

In late December, China’s State Administration for Market Regulation announced an antitrust investigation into Alibaba.

The news came after Beijing authorities stopped the US$37 billion (approximately 2,688 billion rupees) IPO plan planned by Ant Group, Alibaba’s Internet finance arm.

The company has been criticized by competitors and sellers in the past because the company allegedly prohibited its merchants from listing on other e-commerce platforms, a practice known as “choice of two.”

On Friday morning, in a broad stock market rally, Alibaba’s New York stock rose 2.8%, and the Hong Kong stock market rose 1.7% on Friday. The New York stock market is still down about a quarter from its October level.

Thomson Reuters 2021 ©

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