New Delhi: The Chinese government on Wednesday kicked off an investigation into Alibaba group for alleged monopolistic practices at Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and summoned its affiliate Ant Group Co. over financial regulations of billionaire owner Jack Ma’s internet empire. Also Read - China Pakistan Economic Corridor: When China Invested in Pakistan, They Did The Math

The State Administration for Market Regulation is investigating the e-commerce giant for what it calls the “choosing one from two” practice, China’s top antitrust watchdog People’s Bank of China said in a separate statement without mentioning details on penalties. Also Read - 'We Were Bitten by Coronavirus Infected Bats': Wuhan Scientists Make Startling Revelation in a 2017 Video

Over the past few months, Alibaba and its rivals like Tencent Holdings Ltd have been facing increased scrutiny from regulators for capturing almost all aspects of the everyday lives of the Chinese people. Also Read - Trump Admin Blacklists Xiaomi, 8 Other Firms With Chinese Military Ties

Although the government officials have not laid down a clampdown against such firms, anti-monopoly rules in China are now threatening to upset the status quo by stepping up official efforts and imposing scenarios like fines to a break-up of industry leaders and implement “fair competition”.

Draft rules released in November give the government unusually wide latitude to rein in tech entrepreneurs like Ma who until recently enjoyed an unusual amount of freedom to expand their empires, a Bloomberg report stated.

Meanwhile, Alibaba subsidiary Ant received a notice to “seriously study and strictly comply with all regulatory requirements and commit full efforts to fulfil all related work.”

Alibaba Group is the world’s biggest e-commerce company by total sales volume.