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China tech

China fines Alibaba record $2.77bn for antitrust violation

Nation's largest penalty of its kind equals 4% of Alibaba's 2019 China revenue

Chinese authorities say Alibaba urged its partners not to trade with the company's rivals.   © Reuters

SHANGHAI -- Chinese authorities on Saturday decided to fine Alibaba Group 18.2 billion yuan ($2.77 billion). The authorities say Alibaba broke the country's antitrust laws as it urged clients and suppliers not to trade with its rivals. The penalty is the largest antitrust penalty in China and is likely to deal a blow to Alibaba.

According to China's State Administration of Market Regulation, which oversees antitrust matters, the fine is for 4% of Alibaba's revenue in China in 2019. The largest antitrust fine had been 6 billion yuan, slapped on U.S. chipmaker Qualcomm in 2015.

Authorities had searched Alibaba's headquarters in Hangzhou last December. The investigation continued as the authorities said they sought to make the case against Alibaba for demanding its partners choose the company over its rivals.

Alibaba in a statement on Saturday said it received a notice of the decision and that it accepts the ruling. The statement also says the company will strengthen its compliance measures.

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