New bureau fights anticompetitive market practices

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail China Daily, December 21, 2021
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China's antimonopoly bureau under the State Administration for Market Regulation. [Photo/Xinhua]

China will step up antimonopoly supervision and law enforcement, and will continue to regulate improper competition in key areas including the platform economy, technological innovation and information security, said Gan Lin, the recently appointed head of the country's new antimonopoly bureau under the State Administration for Market Regulation.

The remarks were made as the administration launched a five-year implementation outline on Monday. The outline said that the country aims to build a market supervision system that is efficient, intelligent and with clear responsibilities by 2025.

"More efforts will be made in accelerating the amendment of the Antimonopoly Law and on improving regulatory systems on market access, fair competition review and supervision of fair digital economy competition," said Gan, who is also deputy head of the administration.

Gan said that there is an urgent need to further improve antimonopoly and industry regulation, as new industries and business models are emerging one after another and their competition modes are greatly different from that of the traditional economy.

"The bureau will also continue to strengthen review of cases related to the concentration of operators to prevent disorderly expansion of capital," she added. The concentration of operators allows them to obtain control over others and this may lead to monopolies.

The administration said that since last year, it has imposed penalties totaling 60 million yuan ($9.4 million) in 88 cases related to the concentration of operators. From January to October this year, the number of closed cases on such concentration increased by 50.4 percent year-on-year. The average time for filing and closing such cases was shortened by more than one-third from previous durations.

A string of Chinese internet heavyweights, including Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, Tencent Holdings Ltd, Meituan, JD and, were investigated or fined for alleged monopolistic behavior since last year. Alibaba, for instance, was found to have engaged in barring vendors from selling on rival sites.

Gan said this practice was seldom found during this year's Singles Day online shopping gala and market order has been improved significantly, leaving merchants on the platform-especially small and medium-sized business operators-a broader development space.

The recent annual Central Economic Work Conference said that the country will strengthen antimonopoly efforts and prevent disorderly expansion of capital. On Monday, the State Administration for Market Regulation also launched a five-year implementation outline to improve regulatory framework over antimonopolistic behavior between 2021 and 2025.

The outline said that efforts will be made to strengthen legislation concerning intellectual property rights like patents and trademarks to promote innovation-driven development.

"Such efforts reflected that the country is enriching in-house capabilities for greater enforcement and autonomy regarding antitrust matters so as to catch up with strengthening domestic antitrust efforts," said Zhong Gang, executive director of the Competition Law Research Institute at the East China University of Political Science and Law in Shanghai.

"It again demonstrates the country's firm determination to provide a fair market for all entities, especially small and medium-sized market players, to drive more innovation and sustainable economic development," Zhong said.

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