China’s Google Scholar Equivalent Fined $12.6M for Monopolistic Behavior

China’s JStor Equivalent Fined $12.6M for Monopolistic Behavior

China’s largest online academic database, China National Knowledge Infrastructure, has been fined for abusing its dominant position in the domestic market

4 0
11:31 AM HKT, Thu December 29, 2022 1 mins read

On December 26, China’s top market regulator, the State Administration for Market Regulation, imposed a fine of 87.6 million RMB (about 12.6 million USD) on China National Knowledge Infrastructure (CNKI or Zhiwang in Chinese) for monopolistic behaviors.

Founded in 1999, CNKI is the country’s largest online academic database, think Google Scholar or JStor. It has been the major — sometimes the only — source for academic research and thesis writing in China.

According to its website, the platform boasts more than 1,600 institutional customers overseas across 60 countries and regions on top of 32,000 domestic customers. As of 2021, it had over 200 million users, more than 16 million daily visits, as well as 2.3 billion full-text downloads.

However, in May this year, market regulation authorities began investigating CNKI for suspected monopolistic behaviors.

The investigation found that the database has abused its dominant market status by implementing unreasonably high fees and signing exclusive contracts with academic institutions and individual scholars since 2014.

Therefore, the state administration asked CNKI to stop all illegal activities and pay a fine of 5% of its 2021 domestic sales of 1.8 billion RMB, which is about 87.6 million RMB.

On the same day, CNKI responded that it earnestly accepted the decision. The platform also listed 15 steps of its overhaul plan.

This is not the first time the database has gotten into hot water. In December 2021, an 89-year-old professor sued CNKI for copyright infringement and won a 700,000 RMB settlement. The retired scholar claimed that the platform had picked up multiple published articles from him for free. Even worse, he had to pay the platform to download his own papers.

As recently as June this year, the government launched a cybersecurity investigation into CNKI as the platform holds a large amount of personal information and data related to national security industries.

Cover image by Depositphotos

Join the Conversation
Write comment

Use this time to reassess your life choices