China has fined operators of three major e-commerce platforms, including Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and JD.com Inc., $76,600 each for mispricing products, the latest in the barrage of regulatory actions targeting the increasingly influential internet sector.
China’s top market regulator, the State Administration for Market Regulation, said Wednesday it investigated the three platforms—Alibaba’s Tmall Supermarket, JD.com and Vipshop Holdings Ltd. —after receiving complaints from consumers.
The consumers accused these platforms of raising prices of products before offering discounts during a major shopping festival in November, which made it look like they were getting a better bargain than they actually were, according to the regulator. The platforms were also involved in making false promotions and employing bait-and-switch tactics, the regulator said.
Alibaba declined to comment. JD.com and Vipshop Holdings didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.
While the fines were nominal for the companies, they serve as a warning to them and the broader internet sector. In recent months, China has been amping up its scrutiny of the powerful technology sector that has amassed vast amounts of user data.