China launched an investigation into the country's biggest tech company, Alibaba, on Thursday for suspected monopolistic behavior.
It's the latest blow for company co-founder Jack Ma's e-commerce and fintech empire and part of a wider, accelerating crackdown by Beijing on its booming tech industry.
According to officials, China's financial regulators will meet with both Alibaba and its affiliate Ant Group in the coming days to discuss an alleged practice that in China is called 'choosing one from two.'
The practice requires merchants to sign exclusive cooperation pacts preventing them from offering products on rival platforms.
The People's Bank of China on Thursday said that the meeting is to, "guide Ant Group to implement financial supervision, fair competition and protect the legitimate rights and interests of consumers."
Ant said it had received a notice from regulators and would "comply with all regulatory requirements."
Alibaba said it would cooperate with the investigation and that its operations remained normal.
In a strongly worded editorial, the ruling Communist Party's People's Daily said that if "monopoly is tolerated, and companies are allowed to expand in a disorderly and barbarian manner, the industry won't develop in a healthy, and sustainable way".
Last month, Chinese regulators suspended Ant's planned $37 billion initial public offering at the last minute; The IPO been on track to be the world's largest
China's internet sector has benefited from the government's support for innovation, but state regulators have said that the industry must abide by rules and laws.