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China tech

Alibaba halves startup investment as Beijing steps up scrutiny

Antitrust accusations threaten strategy of snapping up promising new companies

Beijing's tighter control has cast a shadow over Alibaba's strategy of investing in startups. (Source photos by Reuters)

SHANGHAI -- Alibaba Group Holding's investments in startups have halved in the four months since its fintech affiliate Ant Group was forced to postpone its stock market listing in November, compared with the same period of a year ago.

The rapid slowdown is a reaction to stricter scrutiny by Chinese President Xi Jinping's government, which has accused Alibaba of antitrust violations and monopolizing the financial market. Some suggest that the "Alibaba economic bloc," which has dominated China's online sphere by absorbing promising startups, may have reached a watershed.

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