Chinese Authorities Deny Imposing $1 Billion Fine On E-Commerce Giant Alibaba
China has denied the reports that it is planning to impose a record fine of nearly USD one billion on e-commerce giant Alibaba for allegedly flouting monopoly rules.
Citing unnamed "people with knowledge of the matter", some media outlets have reported that Chinese officials are considering a hefty penalty that could top the USD 975 million paid by US chipmaker Qualcomm in 2015.
The regulator in charge of the case told that there was no truth to the story, reports The Times of India. "If it's not there (on our website), it's not (true)," a spokeswoman for the state administration for market regulation said.
Jack Ma, the founder of Alibaba Group, is said to have earned the wrath of Chinese leadership for launching a public attack on the country's financial watchdogs, regulatory landscape and state-owned banks.
During an address he delivered at Bund Summit in Shanghai on 24 Oct 2020, Ma criticised the regulatory system for stifling innovation and called for a new set of regulatory reform to fuel growth.
The speech is said to have angered Chinese leadership and set off a chain of events that torpedoed the listing of Ant.
Soon after Ma's scathing attack on the regulatory constraints, state regulators began compiling reports including one on how Ant had used digital financial products like Huabei, a virtual credit card service, to encourage poor and young people to build up debt.
Officials have also opened an investigation into Alibaba's business practices deeming them anti-competitive.
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