JD.com wins anti-monopoly lawsuit against Alibaba

On 29 December, the last working day of 2023, JD.com issued a statement saying that a court ruling determined that it had won the years-long damage case against rival e-tailer Alibaba. In the statement, JD accused Alibaba and its Tmall platform of “abusing its dominant position in the market” to carry out the monopolistic act of forcing merchants to “choose one from the two”. The lawsuit resulted in Alibaba being ordered to pay JD 1 billion RMB (140 million USD) in damages. The statement also praises the ruling as a “fair decision” and thanked the court for it.

The “choose one of the two”, or “either-or” option is used to describe exclusive listing arrangements between platforms and merchants, especially when merchants are pressured into them. JD first reported Alibaba of the practice in 2015, saying that they started the strategy as early as 2013. In 2017, JD formally sued Alibaba for monopolistic behaviours with its exclusive listing deals with merchants. In 2021, Alibaba was fined 18.28 billion RMB (2.58 billion USD) by market regulators for the “choosing one of the two” practices.

On China’s Twitter-like platform Weibo, the topic “Alibaba to pay JD 1 billion RMB” (#阿里被判赔京东10亿#) garnered 330 million views and ranked number 1 on the Hot Search list. Last year, top livestreamer Li Jiaqi was also accused of forcing brands into “choosing 1 of the 2” deals with his Tmall livestream channel during Double 11 sales events.

Alibaba, on the other hand, responded in an answer to journalists that it had been informed of the news and respects the decision of the court. Although Alibaba has yet to indicate whether it will appeal the ruling, experts believe it is likely that it will. However, based on existing cases, an appeal is unlikely to change the ruling, legal experts say.


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