China’s market regulator said on Saturday it was fining companies like Alibaba, Baidu and JD.com for failing to tell authorities 43 deals dating back to 2012 to authorities, claiming they violated anti- monopoly.
Companies involved in the cases would be fined 500,000 yuan ($ 78,000) each, he said, the maximum under China’s 2008 anti-monopoly law.
Alibaba, Baidu, JD.com and Geely did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
China has strengthened its grip on internet platforms, reversing a once-laissez-faire approach and citing the risk of abusing market power to stifle competition, the misuse of consumer data and the violation of consumer rights .
The first deal listed was a 2012 acquisition involving Baidu and a partner, and the most recent was the 2021 deal between Baidu and Chinese automaker Zhejiang Geely Holdings to set up a new energy vehicle business.
Other deals cited by the State Market Surveillance Administration included Alibaba’s 2014 acquisition of Chinese digital mapping and navigation company AutoNavi and its 2018 purchase of a 44% stake in Ele. me to become the largest shareholder in the food delivery service.
The deals, however, have not had the effect of eliminating or restricting competition, the regulator said.
In December last year, he fined Alibaba, Tencent-backed China Literature and Shenzhen Hive Box 500,000 yuan for failing to properly report agreements made for antitrust reviews, the first time he l ‘did.