China Launches Antitrust Investigation Against Alibaba
Alibaba was suspected of violating antitrust laws. Regulators are exploring the company's "forced exclusivity" policy, particularly Alibaba's requirement for partners not to work with its competitors.
On the 24th of December 2020, The South China Morning Post published an article stating that the State Administration for Market Regulation (SAMR) of China has announced an investigation into Alibaba. According to the publication, Alibaba was suspected of "behaviour aimed at creating a monopoly," particularly a "forced exclusivity" policy. SAMR is also examining the company's "choose one of the two" policy that requires business partners not to work with its competitors.
Simultaneously, the People's Bank of China announced that representatives of financial regulators would meet with Alibaba's subsidiary Ant Group representatives.
In early November, the company was supposed to go public in Hong Kong and Shanghai. It would have been the largest IPO in history, with the company expected to rise to $ 34.4 billion. However, two days before the scheduled start of trading, the company's IPO was halted. The PRC regulators have advised Ant Group that it may not meet listing or disclosure requirements. The Ant Group report also stated that the IPO had been suspended due to "material issues" that emerged following a conversation between regulators and top company executives.
Before the IPO, the founder of Alibaba criticized the international rules for the operation of financial institutions. He stated that they hinder innovation.