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Alibaba fined $141m in JD.com’s historic antitrust lawsuit

Alibaba fined $141m in JD.com's historic antitrust lawsuit
Alibaba fined $141m in JD.com's historic antitrust lawsuit

The Beijing Higher People’s Court ordered Alibaba to pay approximately 1 billion yuan ($141 million) in damages to China’s largest retailer, JD.com, also known as Jingdong or 京东.

This is a significant penalty and a rare instance where a large Chinese company has been held accountable for anti-competitive behavior.

JD vs Alibaba: Lawsuit overview

The ruling follows a years-long lawsuit, which startedin 2017 when JD.com filed an anti-monopoly against Alibaba’s Tmall marketplace. As reported by Reuters, a spokesperson for Alibaba says the retailer will “respect the court’s decision.”

An update shared on JD.com’s official WeChat account said the court found that Alibaba abused its market dominance. “We thank the court and all sectors of society for its fair decision, and for supporting JD.com in safeguarding its own rights and pursuing justice.” 

“Fair competition is the core of the market economy. Monopolistic behaviors … not only restrict market competition and damage the legitimate rights and interests of brands, merchants and consumers, but also weaken the innovation and vitality of market development.”

JD’s lawsuit impact on e-commerce landscape

The ruling holds favorable outcomes for China’s e-commerce landscape since both Alibaba and JD.com operate on a global scale. While it boosts JD’s credibility as a fair market retailer, it means loss of trust in Alibaba. 

The ruling is described by JD.com as a landmark moment for the rule of law. It aims to maintain the order of fair competition in the market and could encourage other online retailers to implement equitable business practices and strategies.

“[It is a] significant moment in China’s anti-monopoly legal process. […] This judgment has greatly encouraged us [JD.com] to always adhere to the business belief of integrity and success.”

Alibaba’s past antitrust challenges 

Alibaba has faced numerous antitrust investigations in the past. As reported by Bloomberg, the Chinese government’s crackdown on tech giants in 2021 resulted in the digital commerce behemoth being fined $2.75 billion. 

Alibaba’s legal battles had an impact on its market share as well. Barron’s previously reported that competitor PDD’s (Pinduoduo) “sensationalist third-quarter earnings” in 2023 struck a massive blow to Alibaba when it easily surpassed the latter’s $182.6 billion. 

Alibaba responded to the ongoing antitrust suits by expanding into European economies, with South China Morning Post reporting in December that EU sales reached a total of €32 billion ($35 billion) in 2022. 

The company’s growth resulted in almost €60 billion ($66 billion) being added to the GDP of Germany, France, Italy, and Spain over the past four years. It also created 172,600 jobs in 2022. 

NOW READ: Alibaba’s pivot: Strategic shifts and new markets for e-commerce giant

About the author

Cheryl has contributed to various international publications, with a fervor for data and technology. She explores the intersection of emerging tech trends with logistics, focusing on how digital innovations are reshaping industries on a global scale. When she's not dissecting the latest developments in AI-driven innovation and digital solutions, Cheryl can be found gaming, kickboxing, or navigating the novel niches of consumer gadgetry.

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