Cloud and e-commerce giant Alibaba is the subject of an antitrust investigation by Chinese authorities, it has been reported.

According to CNN, the State Administration for Market Regulation, which is China’s top market regulator, said just before Christmas that it would probe alleged monopolistic behaviour by Alibaba.

It seems that few other details were provided, but CNN said the Chinese regulator would investigate the company’s practice of requiring merchants to sign agreements that prevent them selling products on rival platforms, known as “choosing one from two.”

Antitrust probe

Alibaba reportedly said that it had received notification from the regulator that an “anti-monopoly” investigation has been initiated.

“Alibaba will actively cooperate with the regulators on the investigation,” it said in a statement.

Alibaba has been a Chinese tech success story, and in November 2019 it raised around $11.3bn (£8.8bn) in its secondary listing in Hong Kong.

That was on top of Alibaba’s 2014 New York initial public offering, which had raised $25 billion (£19bn), which remains the world’s biggest flotation to date.

Alibaba had originally considered listing in Hong Kong in 2013, but failed to secure regulatory approval at the time.

Alibaba was founded in 1999, and over the years it has grown from an online marketplace into an e-commerce giant, with interests ranging from financial services to artificial intelligence.

Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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