China’s top market watchdog on Monday slapped administrative penalties on three leading companies for failure to notify concentration of undertakings in advance, which violated the country’s anti-monopoly law.
Alibaba Investment Limited, an affiliate of Alibaba Group, Tencent-owned China Literature Limited, and Hive-box Technology Company, an affiliate of China’s delivery giant SF Express, were fined 500,000 yuan each (about 76,450 U.S. dollars) for the violations, according to an official with the State Administration for Market Regulation.
They had acquired control of firms in retailing, film and television production, and terminal service in express, without prior notifications to the administration, the official said.
According to the anti-trust law, failure to notify the concentration of undertakings in advance would entail measures to restore the status before the move and a maximum fine of 500,000 yuan.
Noting that the concentration of undertakings did not eliminate or restrict competition and regaining the previous status would have a major impact on the companies’ operations and the economy, the official said the firms had not been asked to implement the restoration.
Still, the market watchdog decided to slap heavy fines as the three heavyweight buyers knowingly flouted the notification system and caused adverse impact, the official said, hoping that handling of such cases would help boost regulation in the industry.
Although the amount of fines is relatively low, the penalties are expected to send a signal of tougher anti-monopoly supervision in the internet sector and act as a deterrent, according to the official.
Amid efforts to strengthen anti-trust compliance by market entities, the market regulator has announced 11 administrative penalty decisions related to similar breaches in concentration of undertaking cases since the beginning of 2020.