China’s market watchdog on Wednesday said it has fined the operators of JD.com, Alibaba’s Tmall marketplace and Vipshop 500,000 yuan ($76,500) each for illicit pricing activities, the latest move in Beijing’s clampdown on monopolistic practices in the e-commerce sector.
The State Administration for Market Regulation (SAMR) said it made the decision after receiving consumer complaints about behaviors such as raising prices before offering discounts around the time of this year’s “Double Eleven” shopping extravaganza.
The fine is another blow for Alibaba, which said last week that it was under an SAMR antitrust investigation for its alleged practice of forcing merchants to sign exclusivity agreements designed to prevent them from partnering with its rivals.
Meanwhile, Alibaba’s fintech subsidiary Ant Group has also been ordered by the country’s financial regulators to return to its original role as a payment services provider and overhaul its lending, insurance and wealth management services.
Earlier this month, the SAMR fined Alibaba, Tencent-backed online publisher China Literature and SF Express-owned parcel locker service provider Hive Box 500,000 yuan each for failing to meet regulatory requirements for acquisition deals.
China has tightened its scrutiny of monopolistic behaviors in recent weeks. In November, the SAMR issued draft rules to combat anti-competitive practices in the internet sector.
Contact reporter Ding Yi (email@example.com)