The Big Ideas

'Alibaba’s rivals on alert after China’s regulators hand out record fine'
'Alibaba’s rivals on alert after China’s regulators hand out record fine'
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April 11, 2021
BIG IDEA | “Everyone with a clear mind won't self-regulate, you just pretend that you do. Who will pay for the loss if you lost your competitive advantage because you self-regulated and others didn't?”
Some in the Chinese press have characterized the government's record fine on Alibaba as 杀鸡儆猴: 'Kill the Chicken to Scare the Monkey.'
As the reporting below suggests however the chicken only got a nick on its throat, and the monkeys, unimpressed, may just keep going, business as usual.

‘China’s technology giants are expecting increased scrutiny and penalties after Alibaba’s record $2.8bn fine on Saturday for antitrust violations.’

  • ‘Employees at Tencent Music and Meituan are concerned they could be targeted next by Beijing’s emboldened competition regulators.'

‘A Meituan employee working in the grocery group-buying unit, which had received the Rmb1.5m fine in March, said he believed Meituan is now just waiting to be fined again.’

  • ‘ “I don’t think [a new fine] will have a big impact.” ’
  • ‘ “We all got fined [in March]. Then we continued . . . There is no change in our product operation and strategies.” ’

‘It is certain in China that tech companies will at least act apologetic in public, as Alibaba did on Saturday.’

  • But “everyone with a clear mind won't self-regulate, you just pretend that you do.” ’
  • ‘ “Who will pay for the loss if you lost your competitive advantage because you self-regulated and others didn't?” said the Meituan employee.’