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Alibaba was ordered to pay JD.com $141 million in damages for anticompetitive practices in a lawsuit filed with a Beijing court.

Chinese ecommerce platform JD.com Inc. scored a victory against rival Alibaba in a lawsuit, it announced Friday.

Alibaba was ordered to pay JD.com 1 billion yuan (about $141 million) in damages by the Beijing High People’s Court. The ruling comes from an anti-monopoly case first filed by JD.com in 2017, which led to an investigation of Alibaba starting in 2020. 

JD.com ranks No. 1 in the Asia Database. That’s Digital Commerce 360’s rankings of the largest online retailers in Asia by web sales. 

Competitor Alibaba owns the world’s two largest online marketplaces by gross merchandise value (GMV), Taobao and Tmall. Taobao ranks No. 1 in the Global Online Marketplaces Database, Digital Commerce 360’s ranking of the largest such marketplaces by GMV. Tmall ranks No. 2. Both operate in China.

JD.com also ranks No. 4 in the marketplaces database.


What was the JD.com lawsuit about?

The years-long lawsuit concerned Alibaba’s Tmall marketplace acting as a monopoly. Tmall forced sellers on its platform to agree not to sell on rival platforms, JD.com said in a statement. That falls under the illegal “choosing one from two” practice in China, requiring exclusivity from sellers. Tmall attempted to keep sellers on its platform from selling their products on JD.com, a rival marketplace, the statement says.

This judgment is not only a fair ruling for JD.com to resist the ‘choose-one’ monopoly behavior, but also a landmark moment for the rule of law to maintain the order of fair competition in the market. It will also be a highlight in the process of China’s anti-monopoly rule of law,” JD.com said in the statement.

Alibaba will “respect the court’s decision,” a spokesperson told Reuters.

Alibaba has faced anti-trust probes in the past. Regulators fined the ecommerce giant $2.75 billion in 2021 for abusing its position of market dominance in a similar case.


Another blow for Alibaba

Although it operates the two largest online marketplaces in the world, Alibaba is facing pressure from rivals. PDD Holdings Inc, which owns Pinduoduo and fast-growing U.S. marketplace Temu, recently surpassed Alibaba in market value

Pinduoduo does not rank in the Digital Commerce 360’s Asia Database rankings because it operates through an app-only marketplace, without an ecommerce website. Alibaba previously held the title of most valuable company in China, and it handily dominated Chinese ecommerce. Since 2020, the business has lost market share to rivals including PDD.

Alibaba moved its domestic ecommerce business, including Taobao and Tmall, under the direct supervision of CEO Eddie Wu on Dec. 19. The company’s statement noted the importance of ecommerce to Alibaba’s bottom line. “Eddie’s leadership of both Alibaba Cloud and [Taobao and Tmall Group] will ensure total focus on, and significant and sustained investment in, our two core businesses of cloud computing and ecommerce,” chairman Joe Tsai wrote in a letter.

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