China’s market regulator investigates Alibaba-Minmetals JV

FILE PHOTO: The logo of Alibaba Group is seen at its office in Beijing
FILE PHOTO: The logo of Alibaba Group is seen at its office in Beijing, China January 5, 2021. REUTERS/Thomas Peter/File Photo

April 20, 2021

BEIJING (Reuters) -China’s market regulator is investigating a joint venture between e-commerce giant Alibaba Group and Minmetals Development, Minmetals said on Monday, amid a broad antitrust clampdown on internet firms.

Minmetals said in a statement that it received a notice from the State Administration for Market Regulation in recent days about an investigation into the joint venture formed in 2015, in which Alibaba transferred its 44% stake to an unrelated firm in 2019.

Alibaba declined to comment.

The investigation follows the record $2.75 billion antitrust fine imposed on Alibaba earlier this month.

On Tuesday, Minmetals said in a statement that according to its “preliminary understanding,” the company’s e-commerce cooperation “did not involve any violation of the anti-monopoly law, and there was no damage to the interests of customers, consumers, and investments.”

The company added that it does not expect the regulator’s investigation will have an adverse material impact on its business operations.

(Reporting by Sophie Yu, Tony Munroe, and Josh Horwitz; editing by Louise Heavens and Michael Perry)