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China shares rise as some IT firms pledge against anti competition; Hang Seng gains

* SSEC 0.2%, CSI300 0.3%, HSI 1.3%

* HK->Shanghai Connect daily quota used 4.6%, Shanghai->HK daily quota used 0.3%

* FTSE China A50 -0.1%

BEIJING, April 14 (Reuters) - China shares edged higher on Wednesday with IT firms leading gains, as investors cheered a dozen internet platform companies pledging to avoid anti-competitive behaviours, after e-commerce giant Alibaba was fined a record $2.75 billion last week for such practices. ** At the midday break, the Shanghai Composite index was up 0.15% at 3,401.72, while the blue-chip CSI300 index was up 0.31%. ** The information technology sector added 1.03%, and the material sector gained 0.84%. ** Chinese H-shares listed in Hong Kong rose 1.35% to 10,997.33, while the Hang Seng Index was up 1.24% at 28,850.00. ** Hong Kong-listed JD.com was set for its best session since April 1, after the Chinese e-commerce firm, along with 11 other internet platform companies, pledged to avoid anti-competitive behaviours such as forcing vendors to use their platform exclusively.

** This is the first batch of the 34 companies including Tencent that were ordered by China’s market regulator to conduct self-inspections for illegal business behaviours on Tuesday, warning of “severe punishment” for any that still violated the rules. ** Shares of Alibaba Group rose for a third straight session, after it said on Monday it does not expect any material impact from the antitrust crackdown in China. ** Analysts say expectations of regulatory action had been largely priced in for internet companies before the fine, and the market uncertainty about Alibaba will be reduced. ** China’s exports grew strongly in March on improving global demand as COVID-19 vaccinations progress, and import growth hit a four-year high, data showed on Tuesday, adding to signs of a solidifying recovery in the world’s second-largest economy.

** The smaller Shenzhen index was up 0.79%, the start-up board ChiNext Composite index was higher by 1.4% and Shanghai’s tech-focused STAR50 index was up 0.84%. ** Around the region, MSCI’s Asia ex-Japan stock index was firmer by 0.56% while Japan’s Nikkei index was down 0.43%.

Reporting by Cheng Leng in Beijing, Luoyan Liu and Andrew Galbraith in Shanghai; Editing by Rashmi Aich

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