E-commerce giant Alibaba revealed it has accepted a record $2.8bn (£2bn) fine from the Chinese regulator the State Administration for Market Regulation (SAMR) for breaking competition laws.
The news comes after a probe by the regulator found that it had restricted sellers from working with rival platforms and had forced them into a “choose one” policy. As such SAMR said it had allowed Alibaba to bolster its market position.
It is thought the fine amounts to around 4% of the company’s 2019 domestic revenue.
In response to the decision Alibaba said it had accepted the penalty with “sincerity” and will ensure its “compliance with determination”.
In a statement it said: “On this occasion, the entire team at Alibaba would like to express our gratitude to the trust and patience that our merchants, consumers, partners and shareholders have given us. We would like to share our thoughts and plans for the long-term healthy development of our business in the future.
“Over the past several months, we fully cooperated with the SAMR investigation and seriously studied the government’s policies and expectations for Internet platform economies. In this connection, we conducted a self-assessment of, and implemented improvements to, our internal systems while ensuring stable operation of our business.”
It continued: “The penalty issued today served to alert and catalyse companies like ours. It reflects the regulators’ thoughtful and normative expectations toward our industry’s development. It is an important action to safeguard fair market competition and quality development of Internet platform economies.”
It added that it will “further strengthen” its focus on customer value creation and customer experience, as well as continuing to introduce measures to “lower entry barriers and business costs of operating” on its platforms.
The statement concluded: “Today is an important day in Alibaba’s journey of growth. It is a new starting point for us, one where we tackle problems head on and commit to innovate. Alibaba would not have achieved our growth without sound government regulation and service, and the critical oversight, tolerance and support from all of our constituencies have been crucial to our development.
“For this, we are full of gratitude and respect. We started Alibaba because we believe in treating customers first and creating sustainable long-term value for society. These are our reasons for being, to which we are fully committed, and from which we will never waver.”