Beijing: China’s market regulator on Monday said it is imposing a fine on Alibaba, Tencent’s e-book arm China Literature, and Shenzhen Hive Box for failing to report past acquisitions of smaller competitors for anti-trust reviews.
Each of the technology companies are subject to a fine of 500,000 yuan ($76,000), according to the notice.
According to a report in South China Morning Post, Tencent owns a 59 per cent stake in China Literature and SF Holding owns a stake in Hive Box’s parent company.
“The online economy has become increasingly concentrated by market share, with resources fast concentrating in leading platforms,” the regulator’s anti-monopoly bureau was quoted as saying.
“Complaints about platform monopoly have been increasing day by day, indicating competition risks and problems in the online economy.”
While the fines imposed on these companies appear to be a paltry amount when compared to their annual revenue, the action by the country’s regulator sounds an alarm across China’s Internet companies that time has now come for them to take local regulations seriously.
The regulator said that that enforcement against internet monopolies was strengthening.
The regulator imposed the fine on the three companies after probing complaints about their failures to report their acquisitions of smaller competitors between 2014 and this year for clearance.
The regulator found fault in Alibaba not seeking approval for its deals with Intime Retail Group between 2014 and 2017.
China Literature failed to report its acquisition of New Classic Media, a producer of TV shows and films, in 2018 and Hive Box acquired a competitor owned by China Post Corporation in May, said the report.