China targets Jack Ma’s Alibaba, the ant kingdom in a monopoly investigation

China has launched an investigation into alleged monopolistic practices in Alibaba Group and invited the associated company Ant Group to a high-level meeting financial regulations, escalating control of the double pillars of billionaire Jack Ma’s internet empire.
The probe announced on Thursday marks the formal start of the Communist Party’s crackdown on the crown jewel of Mao’s widespread rule, stretching from e-commerce to logistics and social media. Pressure on Ma is crucial to wider efforts to curb the increasingly influential internet sphere: Draft antitrust rules released in November gave the government broad freedom to curb entrepreneurs, who until recently enjoyed an unusual freedom to expand their territories. “It is clearly an escalation of coordinated efforts to rein in Mao’s empire, which symbolized new Chinese entities ‘too big to fail,'” he said. Dong Ximiao, a researcher at the Zhongguancun Institute of Internet Finance. “Chinese authorities want to see a smaller, less dominant and more aligned firm.”

The state administration for market regulation is investigating Alibaba, the top antitrust supervisor said in a statement without further details. Regulators, including the central bank and banking supervisors, will separately invite the affiliated Ante to a meeting aimed at launching increasingly stringent financial regulations, which now pose a threat to the growth of the world’s largest online financial services company. Ant said in a statement on his official WeChat account that he would study and meet all the requirements.
Ma, the brilliant co-founder of Alibaba and Ant, has almost disappeared from the public eye since Ant’s IPO derailed last month. In early December, the government advised a man most closely identified with China Inc’s meteoric rise to stay in the country, a person familiar with the issue said.
He is not on the verge of a personal fall, experts on the situation said. His very public rebuke is, instead, a warning that Beijing has lost patience with the great power of its technological moguls, which is increasingly seen as a threat to political and financial stability. President Xi Jinping rewards the most. Alibaba slipped 8% in Hong Kong over a five-month period. AsiaThe largest corporation after Tencent has led to losses among the leaders of the Chinese Internet sector since Ant’s IPO was abruptly withdrawn, taking a total tax of about $ 200 billion.