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Alibaba Group Chair Jack Ma during a 2019 conference in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province of China. Photo: VCG/VCG via Getty Images)

China is investigating Alibaba Group on suspicion of monopoly, Bloomberg reported Wednesday.

Why it matters: The probe comes as Chinese regulators seek to rein in some of the country's largest tech companies.

  • Regulators have also summoned Alibaba affiliate, Ant Group Co., to discuss fair competition and consumer rights, per Bloomberg.

Details: An investigation was opened into Alibaba's "choosing one from two" practice, the State Administration for Market Regulation said, according to Reuters.

  • This practice requires merchants to sign "exclusive cooperation pacts preventing them from offering products on rival platforms," Reuters notes.
  • Ant said in a statement that it will study and comply with all requirements, per Bloomberg.

The big picture: The investigation is also the latest sign of trouble for Alibaba co-founder Jack Ma.

  • In November, China abruptly pulled the plug on Ant Group's IPO in November in an apparent rebuke to Ma, Ant's controlling shareholder.

The bottom line: "Once hailed as drivers of economic prosperity and symbols of the country’s technological prowess, Alibaba and rivals like Tencent Holdings Ltd. face increasing pressure from regulators after amassing hundreds of millions of users and gaining influence over almost every aspect of daily life in China," Bloomberg wrote.

Go deeper: How Jack Ma scuttled Ant Group’s planned $35 billion IPO

Go deeper

Trump bans transactions with eight Chinese software apps

Trump speaking at a rally in Dalton, Georgia, on Jan. 4. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

President Trump signed an executive order Tuesday that prohibits transactions with eight Chinese software applications, claiming they pose a national security threat given their ability to access private information about their users.

Why it matters: The order comes two weeks before Trump leaves office, and it remains unclear whether President-elect Biden will continue enforcing Trump’s bans on Chinese companies.

Updated 3 hours ago - World

Reports: Up to 17 U.S. missionaries kidnapped in Haiti

Haitian soldiers guard the public prosecutor's office in Port-au-Prince earlier this month. Photo: Richard Pierrin/AFP via Getty Images

Children were among up to 17 American Christian missionaries and their relatives kidnapped by a gang in Haiti on Saturday, the New York Times first reported.

Details: The missionaries had just left an orphanage and were traveling by bus to the airport to "drop off some members" and were due to travel to another destination when the gang struck in Port-au-Prince, Haitian security officials said, per the NYT.

5 hours ago - World

Melbourne, "world's most locked-down city," to lift stay-at-home orders

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews during a news conference in Melbourne, Australia, on Sunday. Photo: Quinn Rooney/Getty Images

Melbourne's stay-at-home orders will end five days earlier than planned, officials in Australia's second-biggest city announced Sunday.

Why it matters: The capital of the state of Victoria has had six lockdowns totaling 262 days since March last year. That means Melbourne spent longer under lockdown than "any other city in the world" during the pandemic, Reuters notes.