Turkish competition watchdog fines Alibaba-held e-marketplace firm $2.3 million

Turkish competition watchdog fines Alibaba-held e-marketplace firm $2.3 million
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Trendyol has been fined for snatching user data and using it in unfair competition to gain advantage both over other e-marketplace firms and the brands marketed by its own sellers.

Turkey's competition watchdog fined the e-marketplace giant Trendyol 61 million lira (approx. $2.3 million) for intervening in the software that help the sellers acquire user data, and for using the snatched data in unfair competition.

The Competition Board further stated that Trendyol used this intervention also to boost the sales of its private labels in the marketplace.

Journalist Faruk Bildirici earlier said that Trendyol had launched a PR campaign in late 2022 by having some journalists and media outlets manipulate the public into believing that a 2022 legislation targeting monopoly formation in the e-marketplace sector would hinder the sector's growth.

It was revealed by the former editor-in-chief of daily Cumhuriyet that the newspaper's management had been provided a payment under the table for publishing stories in criticism of the legislation. Editor-in-chief Tuncay Mollaveisoglu was dismissed by the management after he exposed the secret deal.

According to data provided by journalist Fusun Sarp Nebil, the total transaction volume in retail sales made by e-commerce firms operating in Turkey amounted to a total of 458 billion lira last year, and Trendyol's share was 112 billion lira, or about a quarter of the total. Trendyol was followed by Hepsiburada with 40 billion, Yemek Sepeti with 16.8 billion, Getir with 14.8 billion, Amazon Turkey with 8.5 billion, N11 with 7.5 billion lira.

Chinese multinational technology and e-commerce company Alibaba's control over Trendyol through ownership of a majority of stakes was approved by the Competition Board in July 2018.

According to a report by Dunya's Kerim Ulker in August 2018, Alibaba paid $728 million for its majority stakes in Trendyol.

Alibaba was ranked by consultation firm Kantar as the 9th most valuable global brand in 2022, and one of the two Chinese brands in the top 10 list.