China’s antitrust regulator fined a dozen companies, including Tencent Holdings and Baidu, over a number of past investment deals, the latest sign of Beijing’s broad crackdown on the internet sector, reported the Wall Street Journal.
China’s State Administration for Market Regulation said Friday that the 12 companies didn’t properly report past deals and fined them each RMB 500,000, equivalent to about $77,000. Though the fine is relatively small given the size of the companies being punished, antitrust experts said the move serves as the latest reminder that authorities are intensifying scrutiny over China’s powerful technology giants.
Friday’s announcement follows a wave of fines and investigations into alleged monopolistic practices, including a continuing probe into Alibaba Group, over whether it abused its dominant market position, said the WSJ.
“Antimonopoly laws for now will be reinforced more intensively,” James Gong, a Beijing-based lawyer with Herbert Smith Freehills said. “Previously, this was an area that authorities had taken a more laid-back attitude toward.”