Alibaba fined over past deals as China gets tougher on Big Tech

Alibaba fined over past deals as China gets tougher on Big Tech

Regulator closes regulatory grey area that foreign-listed companies have enjoyed for more than a decade

The Chinese government has fined Alibaba and two other companies for not reporting past deals, closing a regulatory grey area that China’s foreign-listed tech companies have enjoyed for more than a decade.

China’s market regulator said on Monday it had fined Alibaba, Tencent-backed online bookstore China Literature and logistics group Shenzhen Hive Box for failing to ask for regulatory approval for deals made as early as 2014.

The move signals Beijing’s determination to bring China’s tech giants to heel after a decade of fairly unrestricted growth. Last month, regulators unveiled draft antitrust regulations that sent Chinese tech stocks crashing. Before that, regulators suddenly halted Ant Group’s Shanghai public offering, which would have been the world’s largest.

While big Chinese tech companies such as Alibaba and Tencent make hundreds of acquisitions every year, they have so far not had to seek explicit antitrust approval for deals.