China has denied that it was planning to hit e-commerce giant, Alibaba with a fine of $1 billion for allegedly violating monopoly rules as authorities have been pressurizing the country’s vast technological sector. Alibaba which is China’s largest online shopping portal has been clashing with authorities in recent months over concerns of its reach into the daily finances of ordinary Chinese people. 

On the other hand, the market’s regulator has denied that it had been planning to fine the company for anti-competitive behavior as reported by the Wall Street Journal. In addition, 12 other Tech firms including giants such as Tencent, Baidu and  ByteDance for flouting monopoly rules. 

Tencent has been fined $77,000 for its investment in 2018 in online education app Yuanfando without seeking government approval for the deal, the State Administration for Market Regulation commented. On the other hand, the giant Baidu would be paying the same amount for its acquisition of consumer electronics maker Ainemo under the radar in 2014.  Premier, Li Keqiang stated that anti-monopoly rules would be strengthened and the disorderly expansion of capital would be prevented. 

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Analysts believed that such fines signals the strong domination of the Communist Party over the country’s tech landscape. Alex Capri, a senior fellow at the National University of Singapore’s business school said, “These penalties send a message: the economy and everything within it must comply with the State’s directive”. The ongoing squeeze on Alibaba depicts that leadership is ready to thwart the ambition of big tech firms in a runway internet sector.

However, China’s expansionist policies in the SSC and its growing domination is highlighted in its foreign policies that it espouses. Both at home and at outside, she aims to make a point of the growing prowess of the Communist Party. Gen Deepak Kapoor (retd) puts forward the view that, “ Some aspects of the Ladakh imbroglio stand out. The policy of two steps forward, one step back has been followed by China all along the 3,488-km Line of Actual Control (LAC) while gradually creeping forward over the last 50 years. This is unlikely to stop, considering the aggressive and expansionist approach adopted by China as its power grows” . Its actions in the South China Sea (SCS), East China Sea (ECS) and towards Taiwan are clear examples”. 

It is no doubt that a number of ASEAN countries are affected by the Chinese expansionist designs in the SCS. Not only that,  China has refused to implement the International Court of Justice (ICJ) decision on Scarborough Shoal is indicative of a clear breach of the rule of law and countries must collectively resist subversion of the UN Convention on Law of the Seas (UNCLOS) by China.

Gen Deepak Kapoor (Retd) adds, “It is interesting to note that India has spent a whopping Rs 20,776 crore on emergency purchases to meet the Ladakh challenge. In such a scenario, India has to orchestrate its actions both at the international and domestic levels. At the international level, a consensual approach with like-minded nations is essential to thwart Chinese expansionist designs. Thus, the impetus being given to Quad and its deliberations are a step in the right direction. The Quad’s consensus on observing the rule of law in the Indo-Pacific region and resisting any unilateral actions to change quo would be keenly watched” .

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