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Perhaps no company has borne the brunt of China’s regulatory campaign more than Alibaba, the $106 billion e-commerce giant. Beijing scuttled the IPO of its payment affiliate Ant Group in November 2020 after Alibaba cofounder Jack Ma publicly criticized the nation’s regulators. In April, Beijing slapped Alibaba with a record $2.8 billion fine for antitrust violations that saddled the company with its first quarterly loss since going public in 2014. So while Alibaba’s underlying business chugs along—it posted a 34% increase in revenue in the quarter ended June 2021—the crackdown looms over the tech giant. As of early October, its NYSE-listed shares were down nearly 40% for the year. Another lurking threat is competition from smaller e-commerce rivals like Pinduoduo. In May, Wu, who replaced Ma as an Alibaba director in 2020, said the company would invest any profits that surpassed the previous year’s total into supporting merchants and penetrating new markets.


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