Alibaba Got Too Big for China’s Comfort

Alibaba Got Too Big for China’s Comfort
An employee walks past the logos of Ant Group and Alibaba Group at the Ant Group office in Hong Kong, Oct. 23, 2020 (AP photo by Kin Cheung).

Editor’s Note: Every Wednesday, WPR contributor Rachel Cheung and Assistant Editor Benjamin Wilhelm curate the week’s top news and expert analysis on China. Subscribers can adjust their newsletter settings to receive China Note by email every week.

As China raises the heat on tech giants, one behemoth is taking most of it. Chinese regulators are reportedly mulling a series of measures to rein in the Alibaba Group, from a record fine to potential divestiture of its media assets, as the Chinese Communist Party’s leadership grows wary of its influence. Alibaba is one of, if not the largest, online commerce companies in the world.

Party officials issued a stern warning to China’s tech sector Monday, after a meeting chaired by President Xi Jinping. “Some platform companies are growing in an inappropriate manner and therefore bear risks. It is a considerable problem that the current regulatory regime has failed to adjust,” the minutes of the meeting said. Those remarks followed an announcement by the State Administration for Market Regulation last Friday that it would fine a dozen Chinese tech companies, including Tencent and Baidu, around $77,000 each for failing to report past investment deals.

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