The platform economy should be developed in the norm (Rui Finance)

  On April 10, the State Administration for Market Regulation imposed administrative penalties on Alibaba Group’s “choose one” monopoly in the online retail platform service market in China, and imposed a fine of 18.228 billion yuan.

  Experts pointed out that the penalties imposed on Alibaba Group this time are an effective regulation by the regulatory authorities for platform companies’ illegal activities, but it does not mean that the platform economy’s important role in the overall economic and social development should be denied, but rather that both development and regulation should be adhered to. , To promote the healthy and sustainable development of the platform economy.

Punishment for abuse of dominant market position

  In recent years, there have been behaviors that harm market competition and consumer interests, such as "choosing one of two," "big data," and "self-preferential treatment" in the platform economy.

This punishment is aimed at the "choose one" behavior implemented by Alibaba Group.

  The State Administration of Market Supervision stated that Alibaba Group not only has a market share of more than 50% in the domestic online retail platform service market in China, but also has a relatively high degree of market concentration and strong market control capabilities.

Since 2015, Alibaba Group has abused its dominant position in the market and has imposed “choose one out of two” requirements on merchants on the platform, prohibiting merchants on the platform from opening stores or participating in promotional activities on other competitive platforms, and using market forces, platform rules and data , Algorithms and other technical means, adopt a variety of reward and punishment measures to ensure the implementation of the "two-choice one" requirement, maintain and strengthen its own market power, and gain an unfair competitive advantage.

  An investigation by the State Administration of Market Supervision showed that the Alibaba Group’s “choice of two” behavior eliminated and restricted competition in the online retail platform service market in China, hindered the free circulation of goods, services and resource elements, affected the innovation and development of the platform economy, and infringed on the platform The legitimate rights and interests of domestic merchants have harmed the interests of consumers, and constitutes an abuse of market dominance that prohibits "without justified reasons, the counterparty of the transaction can only be traded with," Article 17 (1) (4) of the Anti-Monopoly Law Status behavior.

  According to the provisions of Article 47 and Article 49 of the Anti-Monopoly Law and considering the nature, extent and duration of Alibaba Group’s illegal activities, the State Administration of Market Supervision made an administrative penalty decision in accordance with the law and ordered Alibaba Group to cease Violation of the law and a fine of 4% of its sales in China of 455.712 billion yuan in 2019, totaling 18.228 billion yuan.

Can't restrict consumers' free choice

  The Administrative Penalty Decision of the State Administration for Market Supervision clearly stated that Alibaba Group restricts platform operators from opening stores on other competitive platforms or participating in other competitive platform promotional activities, forming a lock-in effect to reduce its own competitive pressure, improperly maintaining and consolidating its market position, Deviating from the platform economy’s development concept of openness, tolerance and sharing, it eliminates and restricts relevant market competition, harms the interests of operators and consumers on the platform, weakens the innovation power and development vitality of platform operators, and hinders the standardization of platform economy. Order innovation and healthy development.

  The General Administration of Market Supervision believes that the practice of excluding and restricting market competition not only hinders the optimal allocation of resources, restricts the innovation and development of the platform economy, but also harms the interests of operators and consumers on the platform.

The investigation shows that the relevant actions of the parties have not only damaged the operating autonomy of the operators on the platform, but also improperly reduced the legitimate interests of the operators on the platform. At the same time, it weakened the degree of competition within the brand and damaged the interests of the operators on the platform.

At the same time, the relevant behavior of the parties reduces the brands and products that can be selected on other competitive platforms and restricts consumers’ free choice; the parties restrict the operators on the platforms to open stores or participate in promotional activities on other competitive platforms, restricting consumers’ The right to fair dealing.

In the long run, it will not only damage the actual interests of consumers, but also damage the expected interests of consumers and reduce the overall level of social welfare.

  Alibaba Group responded on April 10, saying, “We sincerely accept this punishment and resolutely obey. We will strengthen the operation according to the law, further strengthen the construction of the compliance system, based on innovation and development, and better fulfill our social responsibilities.”

Pay equal attention to development and regulation

  According to Shi Jianzhong, a professor at China University of Political Science and Law, this administrative penalty has also released a clear policy signal-while encouraging and promoting platform economic development, the state has strengthened anti-monopoly supervision to effectively prevent and stop platform companies from misusing data and technology. Behaviors that harm competition, innovation, and consumer interests with advantages such as capital and capital, regulate and guide the sustainable, healthy and innovative development of the platform economy.

  It embodies the principle of legal supervision.

Shi Jianzhong pointed out that for competitive platforms, platform companies should keep to the bottom line of laws such as the Anti-Monopoly Law; for platform operators, platform companies should fulfill the basic obligations given by laws such as the E-Commerce Law; for consumers, the platform Enterprises should respect the rights and interests of consumers in accordance with the law.

The State Administration of Market Supervision filed and investigated Alibaba Group in accordance with the law and imposed administrative penalties, which fully reflects the principle of legal supervision of the platform economy.

  It embodies the supervisory thinking of both development and regulation.

Shi Jianzhong believes that the 4% fines ratio is relatively moderate, which not only reflects the principle of equating legal compliance and excessive fines, the state’s attitude and determination to strengthen anti-monopoly supervision of platform enterprises, but also reflects the policy goal of supporting platform economic development. Demonstrating the regulatory thinking that attaches equal importance to development and regulation.

  "The purpose of legal regulation is to promote the development of the platform economy. Anti-monopoly supervision must ensure that the market can play a decisive role in allocating resources. It must maintain an open, inclusive, and shared environment for the platform economy, so that platform companies can win development opportunities in fair market competition. , To respond to the actual needs of platform economic development with scientific and effective anti-monopoly supervision." Shi Jianzhong said.

  Xu Peiyu

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