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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 6 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

  1. Health: Most vulnerable Americans aren't getting enough vaccine information — Fauci says Trump administration's lack of facts on COVID "very likely" cost lives.
  2. Politics: Biden unveils "wartime" COVID strategyBiden's COVID-19 bubble.
  3. Vaccine: Florida requiring proof of residency to get vaccine — CDC extends interval between vaccine doses for exceptional cases.
  4. World: Hong Kong to put tens of thousands on lockdown as cases surge.
  5. Sports: 2021 Tokyo Olympics hang in the balance.
  6. 🎧 Podcast: Carbon Health's CEO on unsticking the vaccine bottleneck.

Trump impeachment trial to start week of Feb. 8, Schumer says

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. Photo: The Washington Post via Getty

The Senate will begin former President Trump's impeachment trial the week of Feb. 8, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced Friday on the Senate floor.

The state of play: Schumer announced the schedule after reaching an agreement with Republicans. The House will transmit the article of impeachment against the former president late Monday.