China threatens to bring stringent anti-monopoly laws against Internet platforms (AFP)
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China threatens to bring stringent anti-monopoly laws against Internet platforms

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The Chinese government agencies have pledged to strengthen law enforcement and judicial work against monopolies and unfair competition this year. The decision came during the annual central conference for China’s judicial, prosecution and public security work.

The meeting was held on Saturday and Sunday in Beijing, according to a statement on the WeChat account of the Commission for Political and Legal Affairs of the Communist Party Central Committee.

The authorities urged Internet platforms to regulate businesses according to laws.

Government agencies will remain highly vigilant against risks from private funds, online lending and apartment renting platforms amid the coronavirus outbreak.

The move comes after China kicked off an investigation into alleged monopolistic practices at Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. last month. The Chinese regulators threatened to throttle the company’s businesses over such practices.

Following this Jack Ma’s Ant Group is planning to fold its financial operations into a holding company that could be regulated more like a bank. The fintech giant is planning to move any unit that would require a financial license into the holding company, pending regulatory approval.

Earlier this week, Alibaba Group announced it would shut down its music streaming platform Xiami Music next month, stepping back from its ambitious aim to enter China’s entertainment industry.

“Due to operational adjustments, we will stop the service of Xiami Music from February 5,” Alibaba’s music arm announced on Tuesday on its Weibo account. Alibaba acquired the online music app in 2013 and invested millions to compete in China’s online music business.

China to censor local media coverage of Alibaba probe

China has ordered its domestic media to restrict their reporting on an antitrust probe into Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. as speculation over the future of one of the country’s largest corporations intensified, according to people with direct knowledge of the matter.

A directive issued by the government’s propaganda arm toward the end of last year ordered news outlets to strictly echo the official line on the investigation into the tech giant and prohibited them from engaging in original reporting and extended analysis or drawing their own conclusions without authorization, according to the people, who asked not to be identified as the order hasn’t been made public. The restrictions also apply to Jack Ma, the company’s co-founder, the people said.

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