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Beijing deals another major blow to China’s Big Tech

The State Administration for Market Regulation (SAMR) slapped fines of $78,300 on each corporation, saying they failed to declare 43 deals, dating back to 2012, to the proper authorities.

The list of antitrust violation cases that have been brought to light include Beijing Baidu Wangxun Technology and Nanjing Wangdian Technology’s joint purchase of Nanjing Xinfeng Network Technology, Alibaba’s acquisition of the equity of AutoNavi Software Holdings, and Tencent’s acquisition of equity in China Medical Online. 

All the cases announced represent transactions that should have been declared but weren’t. SAMR noted that the list includes a raft of firms and a long transaction time span.

“With the in-depth advancement of anti-monopoly law enforcement, the awareness of corporate operators’ concentration declarations has continued to increase, proactively sorting out and reporting the concentration of operators that have not previously been declared illegally … and actively cooperating with investigations,” the watchdog said on Saturday on its official WeChat account.

The penalties are the latest development in Beijing’s major clampdown on technology-focused businesses, amid a nationwide move towards increasing national security. The country’s tech giants, particularly the ones operating in the financial sector, have been under close scrutiny from state authorities due to their increasing power.

In October, the SAMR imposed a fine of $533.5 million on food delivery platform Meituan. The penalty over monopolistic practices was the second-biggest fine on the Chinese platform economy since Alibaba was slapped a record $2.8 billion antitrust fine in April, for exclusionary practices.

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