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Alibaba and two other firms fined for not reporting deals to Chinese regulators

Signage for Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. covers the front facade of the New York Stock Exchange November 11, 2015.

Brendan McDermid | Reuters

GUANGZHOU, China — China’s market regulator has fined Alibaba and a Tencent-backed company for not making the proper declarations to authorities about past acquisitions, in another sign Beijing is taking a tougher stance on the country’s tech giants.

Alibaba, Tencent-backed China Literature, and Shenzhen Hive Box Technology were each fined 500,000 yuan ($76,463) by the State Administration for Market Regulation (SAMR).

While the fines are small, SAMR’s move signals further intent from Chinese regulators to punish and regulate technology firms, many of which have grown largely unencumbered over the past few years, transforming themselves into key parts of everyday life in China.

Last month, the SAMR published draft rules looking to stop monopolistic practices by internet platforms. It is one of the most wide-sweeping proposals in China to regulate large tech companies.

The SAMR issues are related to Alibaba’s move to take a controlling stake in department store operator InTime, China Literature’s acquisition of New Classics Media and Hive Box’s acquisition of China Post Smart Logistics.

None of the acquisitions, however, restricted or eliminated competition, according to the SAMR. Instead, the fines stem from the companies not properly submitting the paperwork required by current monopoly laws.

In a follow-up statement posted online, the SAMR said internet “platforms are not outside the anti-monopoly law,” in a comment that continues to put China’s internet giants on notice.

At around 2:09 p.m. Hong Kong time, Tencent and Alibaba’s Hong Kong-listed shares were around 2.9% lower.