SHANGHAI (Reuters) – China’s market regulator on Monday said it has fined online discount retailer Vipshop Holdings Ltd 3 million yuan ($463,936.66) for committing unfair competition acts.
An investigation found that from August through December last year, Vipshop had developed a system to obtain information on brands it and competitors sold that gave Vipshop a competitive advantage, the State Administration for Market Regulation (SAMR) said on its website.
The regulator announced the investigation into Vipshop in January. Vipshop said on its official Weibo account on Monday that it accepted SAMR’s findings and would strengthen its compliance management in response.
China has stepped up regulations on tech giants in recent months. Beijing on Sunday formalised rules aimed at preventing monopolistic behaviour by internet firms, saying that they wanted to prevent price fixing and stop firms from using data and algorithms to manipulate the market.
The regulator said Vipshop used its system to influence user choices and transaction opportunities and to block sales of particular brands.
Chinese regulators fined three e-commerce platforms in December, including Vipshop, 500,000 yuan ($77,334.74) each for irregular pricing.
SAMR is also currently carrying out an antitrust investigation into China’s e-commerce giant Alibaba, first announced in December.
($1 = 6.4664 Chinese yuan)
(Reporting by Brenda Goh; Editing by Christopher Cushing and Sam Holmes)
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