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China Steps Up Internet Sector Scrutiny

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China warned its Internet giants on Monday that it would not tolerate monopolistic practices and to brace for increased scrutiny, as it slapped fines and announced probes into deals involving Alibaba Group and Tencent Holdings.

The State Administration of Market Regulation SAMR said it would fine Alibaba, Tencentbacked China Literature and Shenzhen Hive Box 500,000 yuan 76,464 each, the maximum under a 2008 antimonopoly law, for not reporting past deals properly for antitrust reviews.

It said it would also look into a merger between game livestreaming firms Huya Inc and DouYu International announced in October. Tencent is a major investor in both and the Chinese tech giant had pushed the deal, Reuters has previously reported.

In addition, the SAMR said it will review and investigate other deals based on tipoffs that some firms had cornered a lot of operating power in certain sectors a process it expects will be lengthy and involve a large number of companies.

The fines of the three cases are a signal to society that antimonopoly supervision in the Internet field will be strengthened, the SAMR said even as it acknowledged the fines were relatively small.

The Internet industry is not outside the oversight of antimonopoly law, it added in a separate statement.

Hong Konglisted shares of Alibaba and Tencent fell after the news, with Alibaba closing down 2.6 and Tencents shares ending 2.9 lower in their worst day since Nov. 30.

China Literature said it had received…

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