E-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding says the number of sellers who sign up to sell their wares ahead of the upcoming “6.18” online shopping festival has more than doubled from last year, just one month after received a record fine for monopolistic behavior.
Yang Guang, vice president of Tmall, one of Alibaba’s main online marketplaces, said the platform saw an influx of 250,000 brands, attributing the jump to lowering barriers to entry.
The annual shopping festival brings in hundreds of billions of dollars in revenue for Alibaba and its online rival JD.com, whose sellers lure buyers with deep discounts and other offers.
However, in April, Alibaba was fined a record 18.2 billion yuan ($ 2.8 billion) by the State Administration of Market Regulation (SAMR) for monopoly practices that included the obligation to choose either its services or those of its competitors.
Later that same month, SAMR summoned 34 internet companies, including JD.com, to meetings in which it ordered them to quit the practice and other illegal activities.
Yang, who is in charge of running sellers on Tmall, said in January during a meeting with sellers – after SAMR launched an investigation into Alibaba’s monopoly behavior – that Tmall would not support the practice of ” choose one out of two “this year. and would not restrict the rights and interests of sellers for competitive reasons.
The annual online sales extravaganza will last from May 24 to June 20 for Alibaba and JD.com.
Practices such as forcing vendors to choose only one platform have been banned as the country’s antitrust watchdog is tightening the screws on internet giants through cracking down on behavior deemed anti-competitive.
These include abusing their strong market positions, spending money to gain dominance in the lucrative community group buying market, violating user data privacy rules, and shutting down eyes on fake products.
In November, during the “Double 11” shopping festival, Tmall recorded a record total turnover of 498.2 billion yuan. However, SAMR slapped him with a fine of 500,000 yuan for improper prices, such as setting prices higher than usual during promotion and false advertising.
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