Tightening the noose around top homegrown companies, China’s anti-monopoly bureau has announced to step up legal enforcement against monopolistic behaviour and push forward the amended antimonopoly law to improve the regulatory framework.
China last month elevated the seniority of the market regulator’s antitrust unit, the National Anti-monopoly Bureau, and appointed Gan Lin as chief, a move which would help antitrust investigators gain resources when examining mergers and acquisitions.
According to Gan, China still faces ‘insufficient punishment’ for some monopolistic activities, while some antitrust regulations remain at the elementary level. “With the rapid development of the digital economy, and new industries and business models emerging one after another, there are great differences in competition modes between the new and the traditional economy,” Gan said.
“There’s an urgent need to further improve the anti-monopoly legislation and industry regulation,” Gan added.
China in recent times under its new regulatory regime for the IT sector has come out hard on the internet sector. The country has not just blocked mergers but also imposed a record $2.75 billion fine on e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding for abusing its market position.
Alibaba was found to have engaged in the practise of ‘choosing one from two,’ in which an e-commerce platform bars vendors from selling on rival sites.
Gan said this practice was not evident during China’s annual “618 shopping festival” and Singles’ Day online shopping festival this year after the bureau kicked off a sector-wide rectification. In October, it levied a $527 million fine on food delivery giant Meituan for abusing its dominance.
“The orderliness of market competition has shown great improvement, and the smaller business operators have now gained broader space,” Gan said.