Nov 30, 2021 (WallStreetPR via Comtex) -- The State Administration of Market Regulation (SAMR) has announced that the Chinese government has fined ByteDance, Baidu Inc /zigman2/quotes/209050136/composite BIDU -1.03% , Tencent Holdings (otcmkts:TCEHY), and Alibaba Group Holding Ltd /zigman2/quotes/201948298/composite BABA -2.26% for violating antitrust laws.
SAMR fines the companies for 43 violations
The SAMR revealed that there were 43 violations, some of which went back to 2012. The companies would have to pay $78,000 for each violation. According to the SAMR, the violations all cover transactions that were left undeclared when though they were to be declared. The regulator's willingness to fine these companies for past violations shows its seriousness about its antimonopoly stance.
Baidu committed the oldest 2012 violations when it bought shares from Nanjing Xinfeng. The move made Baidu the largest shareholder at the software development company. Some offenses are more well-known and recent.
For example, Alibaba committed one when it bought AutoNavi in 2014. AutoNavi is a Chinese Maps and Navigation company. The company also obtained 44% shares in Ele.me in 2018. SAMR points out that the companies failed to declare these acquisitions when they should have. Despite the illegal nature of these violations, the regulator admits that none of these instances caused restriction or elimination of rivals.
When asked for comment, ByteDance, Alibaba, and Baidu did not respond. Tencent, on the other hand, chose to decline to comment.
This incident is not the first time that the SAMR has fined Big Tech companies in China. However, the lines were not as massive as the ones the companies had to pay previously. For instance, SAMR once asked Alibaba to pay a fine of $2.8 billion after the firm said that the company had acted as a monopoly.
The companies experienced a drop in share value after the announcement
After the regulator made the announcement, the companies experienced a drop in share value. For instance, Tencent shares fell by 0.3%, Alibaba decreased by 1.6%, and Baidu shares fell by 2.1%. Later on, Alibaba would experience a record decline of 11%. Alibaba had previously wanted its shareholders of minimal growth in 2021 as the country experienced an economic slowdown and Beijing cracked down on major companies.
SAMR had fined Meituan (otcmkts:MPNGF) $533 million in October after months of investigation for not complying with antimonopoly regulations. After this, the delivery giant no longer seeks exclusivity from its vendors.
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