Companies like Alibaba and Didi Chuxing fined under anti-monopoly cases

Beijing, China: China’s internet giants, including Tencent, Alibaba and Didi Chuxing are fined by China after State Administration for Market Regulation (SMAR) probed 22 cases of illegal operations in the internet sector.

The market regulator on Wednesday said that all the cases are violations of the country’s anti-monopoly law, and the companies involved have been fined about USD 77,206 for each case, Global Times reported.

The probes of the 22 cases, which involved fields such as new retail, e-commerce, logistics, fintech, ride-hailing and charging piles in the new-energy vehicle industry, started in March and April this year.

This development comes less than a week after the Chinese Cybersecurity Review Office ordered app stores to remove ride-hailing app Didi Chuxing. On Monday, the regulator announced that it will investigate job recruiting platform Boss Zhipin, and two commercial freight platforms, over national security concerns.

A notice by the Chinese regulator said that cybersecurity reviews will be conducted against Boss Zhipin and truck-booking platforms Yunmanman and Huochebang under Full Truck Alliance, to address national data security risks, maintain national security, and protect public interests, GT reported.

“These companies are now listed in the US. In this process, some important data and personal information held by the companies may be leaked due to US regulation. In other words, the listing in the US could lead to data’s outbound security risks,” Zuo Xiaodong, vice-president of the China Information Security Research Institute, told the GT on Monday.

On Sunday, the Chinese Cyberspace Administration ordered online mobile app stores to take ride-hailing app Didi Chuxing off their shelves due to “serious violations of law and regulation” in the collection and use of personal information.

The Chinese watchdog said the application severely violated relevant laws and regulations while collecting and abusing user data. The regulator told the ride-hailing company to take concrete measures to fix the loopholes in accordance with the law and national standards.

Liu Dingding, a Beijing-based independent tech analyst said that given the current situation, more Chinese firms that intend to list in the US, would have a second thought amid the country’s tightening security on data protection.

Other experts believe that the review is another example of Beijing’s crackdown on influential IT giants. Earlier this April, the Chinese government imposed a huge fine on Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group. 

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