China launches anti-trust probe into tech giant Alibaba, set to meet Ant Group



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China launches anti-trust probe into tech giant Alibaba, set to meet Ant Group

In the latest flashpoint of a full-fledged crackdown on Alibaba founder Jack Ma’s e-commerce empire, the Chinese authorities initiated an anti-trust probe into Alibaba Group Holdings Inc. and would summon the Chinese tech conglomerate’s fintech arm Ant Group to meet over the coming days, Chinese anti-trust regulators said in a statement earlier on Thursday, marking up the latest blow to Jack Ma’s much-monopolized fintech enterprise.

On top of that, Beijing’s anti-trust regulators had also been quoted saying in a statement that the investigation had been a part of a broad-based clampdown on anti-competitive behaviours in a booming internet services sector in China, while the latest move from pro-CCP-backed Chinese Government would add to a latest backlash for Jack Ma, the 56-year-old former salesman turned into a billionaire business entrepreneur.

Besides, the State Administration for Market Regulation (SAMR), China’s anti-trust authority, had confirmed late on Thursday that it had launched an investigation into Alibaba’s potential abuse of market dominance, joining a string of global regulators who had long been vying to vent out a way to diminish the control that the tech giants hold over a much-monopolized internet space.

China initiates anti-trust probe on Alibaba

In point of fact, latest crackdown on Alibaba Group came forth just a few weeks after the Chinese Government had cancelled a slated $37 billion dual IPO of Ant Group in mainland Shanghai and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng, which in effect would have been the world’s largest IPO.

Apart from that, in a separate statement, the People’s Bank of China (China’s Central Bank) said late in the day that the country’s financial regulators would meet Alibaba’s fintech arm Ant Group officials over the coming days.

Following the announcements, shares’ prices of Alibaba dived as much as 9 per cent in Hang Seng, its lowest level since July, while Alibaba’s smaller rival JD.com ended up the day 2 per cent lower. Besides, Alibaba Group Holdings’ US listed stocks were slumped 13 per cent, remarking the largest intra-session percentage decline since its NYSE debut back in the 2014s.

Meanwhile, voicing a strident tone against internet monopoly in China, the country’s ruling pro-CCP-backed newspaper People’s Daily wrote in an editorial, “If monopoly is tolerated, and companies are allowed to expand in a disorderly and barbarian manner, the industry won’t develop in a healthy, and sustainable way.