SAMR investigated 22 merger and acquisition deals — some of them from as far back as 2011 — and fined the companies 500,000 yuan ($77,174) for each case. That’s the maximum amount allowed by the law concerning such practices.
The rest of the deals belong to Tencent, e-commerce site Suning.com, and food delivery app Meituan.
Fintech Zoom Business has reached out to the companies for comment on the fines.
The move, which was announced late Wednesday afternoon, hammered tech shares in Hong Kong on Thursday. The Hang Seng Tech Index, which tracks the 30 largest tech firms listed in Hong Kong, tumbled 3.7% to its lowest level since October. Meituan sank 6.4%. Alibaba and Tencent slid 4.1% and 3.7%, respectively.
That contributed to what has been hundreds of billions of dollars lost in market value since Beijing stepped up the crackdown late last year. Alibaba, Tencent, and Meituan have seen a combined $710 billion evaporate in market cap from their peaks.
“Monopolistic practices do not only exist in Ant Group, but also in other institutions. We will implement the measures that we took against Ant Group on other payment service entities,” Fan Yifei, deputy governor of the People’s Bank of China, said in a press conference on Thursday in Beijing.
“We will continue to regulate the irregularities in the payment market.”
The latest regulatory actions suggest Beijing’s drive to rein in the country’s sprawling tech sector might be far from over.
Late last week, authorities unexpectedly launched a probe into Didi and soon ordered it to be removed from app stores, accusing it of violating laws about data collection and use. It pummeled Didi’s shares in New York just days after its $4.4 billion IPO, knocking off some $29 billion from its market value.