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China’s Antitrust Head Signals Tighter Legal Enforcement

 |  December 22, 2021

The anti-monopoly bureau in China plans to ramp up its action against monopolistic behavior, according to chief Gan Lin, Reuters reports.

Last month China had boosted the antitrust unit’s seniority. Gan was appointed then as chief. These moves were intended to bolster the abilities of antitrust investigators to get resources to look into mergers and acquisitions.

China has done away with its formerly more free approach to regulation of the internet. It has cracked down on mergers and sent down billions in fines to eCommerce titan Alibaba Group for reportedly abusing its market position.

According to Gan, the country’s punishments for some monopolistic activity isn’t enough.

“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 in an interview published on the official website of State Administration for Market Regulation (SAMR) on Sunday.

Alibaba was charged with “choosing one from two,” meaning where an eCommerce platform bans companies from selling on rival sites.

Gan said that practice wasn’t seen during the yearly “618 shopping festival,” or the Singles’ Day online shopping this year. Gan said there was more orderliness in market competition, and “the smaller business operators have now gained broader space,” Gan said.

In October, China announced it would be boosting its antitrust bureau status within its regulatory agency, with the bureau being renamed as the National Anti-Monopoly Bureau.