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Alibaba shares slid after China begin anti-monopoly probe (REUTERS)
Alibaba shares slid after China begin anti-monopoly probe (REUTERS)

Alibaba shares slid after China begins anti-monopoly probe

The Chinese regulators said it was looking into Alibaba's policy of 'choose one of two', which requires its business partners to avoid dealing with competitors. Ant, meanwhile, said in a statement on its official WeChat account: It will study and comply with all requirements.

Shares of Alibaba Group tumbles 7% in the early trading hours on Thursday after Chinese regulators said they would probe into the company's alleged monopolistic behaviour.

The stock traded as low as HK$229.4. The Hang Seng Index was down 0.2%.

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Alibaba’s Hong Kong stock slid as much as 7.7% to a five-month intraday trough, while Tencent and internet services giant Meituan declined more than 1%. Shares in SoftBank Group Corp., Alibaba’s largest shareholder, erased gains to trade as much as 2.7% lower in Tokyo.

The Chinese market regulator said it was looking into Alibaba's policy of “choose one of two," which requires its business partners to avoid dealing with competitors. The one-sentence statement gave no details of possible penalties or a timeline to announce a result.

Apart from kicking off the investigation into the allegations, the regulators also summoned affiliate Ant Group Co. to a high-level meeting over financial regulations, escalating scrutiny over the twin pillars of billionaire Jack Ma’s internet empire.

Regulators including the central bank and banking watchdog will separately summon affiliate Ant to a meeting intended to drive home increasingly stringent financial regulations, which now pose a threat to the growth of the world’s biggest online financial services firm.

Responding to it, Ant said in a statement on its official WeChat account: "It will study and comply with all requirements."

Once hailed as drivers of economic prosperity and symbols of the country’s technological prowess, Alibaba and rivals like Tencent Holdings Ltd. face increasing pressure from regulators after amassing hundreds of millions of users and gaining influence over almost every aspect of daily life in China.

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