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Alibaba, China's e-commerce giant, hit with record fine over antitrust

China's State Administration for Market Regulation doles out a $2.75 billion penalty to the company founded by Jack Ma.

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- 01:16
Alibaba logo shown on a smartphone
Angela Lang/CNET

Chinese e-commerce titan Alibaba was smacked with a record $2.75 billion antitrust fine by China's government on Saturday, Reuters reported, with the State Administration for Market Regulation saying the company had abused its market power by keeping its sellers from using other e-commerce platforms.

The fine comes several months after Alibaba founder and former CEO Jack Ma, one of China's richest people, criticized China's regulatory system, Reuters noted. Following Ma's comments, Chinese officials also put the kibosh on a planned $37 billion IPO by Ant Group, Alibaba's internet finance arm, Reuters said.

In addition to the antitrust fine, the SAMR said Alibaba must make "thorough rectifications" aimed at improving compliance and safeguarding the rights of consumers, according to the news agency. And Ant must OK a regulatory-driven makeover that could tighten the leash on some of its businesses and slash its valuations, Reuters said.

Alibaba called the fine "an important action to safeguard fair market competition" and said in its statement that it had cooperated with the SAMR's antitrust investigation and had "conducted a self-assessment of, and implemented improvements to, our internal systems while ensuring stable operation of our business."

Reuters noted that the $2.75 billion penalty adds up to about 4% of the domestic revenue Alibaba hauled in during 2019.