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Chinese tech stocks roiled by worsening crackdown

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After hitting a Didi company once the firm went public in the United States, Chinese regulators pushed even more pressure on the country’s technology champions this week. Authorities announced a series of antitrust fines on Wednesday, as well as promises to “regulate irregularities” between payment companies on Thursday.
Investors have been scared by all the turmoil. Chinese technology stocks a Hong Kong was beaten on Thursday, contributing hundreds of billions of dollars in losses that have been rising for months.
The latest concerns unfolded on Wednesday when China’s antitrust regulator fined several Internet companies, including Didi, Alibaba (BABA) i Tencent (TCEHY) – for the accusations that violated the country Antitrust law while mergers or acquisitions were made in the last ten years, according to the State Administration for Market Regulation (SAMR). The regulator said the companies did not apply for approval of the transactions, which could have unduly increased the amount of control the companies had over the market.

SAMR investigated 22 merger and acquisition agreements – some of them since 2011 – and fined companies 500,000 yuan ($ 77,174) for each case. This is the maximum amount allowed by law on these practices.

They are still incredibly small fines, especially compared to record $ 2.8 billion punishment imposed on Alibaba earlier this year, when regulators accused the company of behaving like a monopoly.
But they do occur as a result of a bad track record for Chinese technology, including Didi, which was so banned in app stores in China on Sunday for a cybersecurity probe. The company participated in eight of the 22 bids. Alibaba participates in six.

The rest of the deals belong to Tencent, the e-commerce site Suning.com and the Meituan food delivery app.

CNN Business has contacted companies to comment on the fines.

The move, which was announced on Wednesday afternoon, attacked technology stocks in Hong Kong on Thursday. The Hang Seng Technical Index, which tracks the 30 largest technology companies listed in Hong Kong fell 3.7% to their lowest level since October. Meituan sank 6.4%. Alibaba and Tencent fell 4.1% and 3.7%, respectively.

This has contributed to the loss of market value of hundreds of billions of dollars since Beijing intensified repression late last year. Alibaba, Tencent and Meituan have seen a total of $ 710 billion evaporate in the market capitalization of their highs.

Regulation of “irregularities”

Apart from that, the central bank of China he said yes on Thursday ensure additional regulation of Chinese payment companies, referring to their massive review by Ant Group.

“Monopolistic practices exist not only in Ant Group, but also in other institutions. We will implement the measures we took against Ant Group on other payment service entities,” said Fan Yifei, deputy governor of the People’s Bank of China. press conference Thursday in Beijing.

“We will continue to regulate irregularities in the payments market.”

Recent regulatory action suggests that Beijing’s push to curb the country’s vast technology sector could be far from over.

Late last week, authorities unexpectedly launched an investigation against Didi and soon ordered her to withdraw from app stores, accusing her of violating data collection and use laws. It attacked Didi’s shares in New York just days after its $ 4.4 billion IPO, removing about $ 29 billion from its market value.

Beijing began tightening the screws on some of the country’s technology champions late last year. In early November, regulators withdrew Jack Ma’s IPO Group of ants at the last minute. Since then, they have investigated a number of companies, including Alibaba, Tencent and Meituan, for alleged monopolistic behavior or breach of customer rights.

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