Alibaba shares soar even after accepting $2.8bn antitrust fine

Alibaba on course to post biggest single day gain in three months, even after accepting a record penalty from regulators

Alibaba has accepted a record penalty imposed by China's anti-monopoly regulator.

Regulators gave the Chinese tech giant a massive $2.8bn (€2.3bn, £2bn) fine after a probe determined that it had abused its market status for years.

The fine amounts to about 4 per cent of the company's 2019 domestic revenue.

Alibaba Group's executive vice chairman Joe Tsai indicated that regulators are more focussed on platforms like Alibaba as they grow in importance.

"We're happy to get the matter behind us, but the tendency is that regulators will be keen to look at some of the areas where you might have unfair competition," he told an investor call.

The company added that it was not aware of any further anti-monopoly investigations by Chinese regulators, but it hinted that Alibaba and its competitors would remain under review in China over mergers and acquisitions.

The main issue for regulators was that Alibaba restricted merchants from doing business or running promotions on rival platforms.

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The company said it would introduce measures to make the entry barriers and business costs faced by merchants on e-commerce platforms less strict.

The group does not expect any material impact on its business from the change of exclusivity arrangements imposed by regulators.

Alibaba has come under intense scrutiny since billionaire founder Jack Ma’s public criticism of the Chinese regulatory system in October.

The company stock was up about 8% in the afternoon trade in Hong Kong, adding $48.5bn to its market value and putting it on course to post its biggest single-day gain in nearly three months.

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