China strengthens competition watchdog while increasing repression of giants
China strengthens competition watchdog while increasing repression of giants

As China intensifies its efforts to curb anti-competitive behavior, especially among powerful Chinese companies, competition regulators in China have increased their staff and other resources.

Beijing's plan to boost SAMR comes if China adopts amendments to amend competition law, including dramatically increasing fines and expanding criteria for assessing the company's market control.

On Saturday, competition agency Alibaba fined a record $ 2.75 billion in fine after the company discovered that Alibaba had misused its dominant position for several years.

The fines highlight the challenges facing companies, including global companies in China, particularly in the technology sector, which has boomed after years of deregulation and relatively little disruption in the market.

It also reflects the increased activity of the US and European antitrust authorities in recent years.

The Beijing-based agency plans to increase the number of antitrust personnel from about 40 to about 20 to 30.

The competition regulator intends to enable its local offices to review cases and hire more workforce from other agencies and government agencies to handle cases that require a large number of surveys.

It also increased the budget for antitrust investigations, ongoing operations, and research projects.

The Anti-Monopoly Office of the State Administration for Market Regulation (SAMR) was established at the beginning of 2018 after merging the other two government departments into a monitoring body for monopolistic activities.

In the past few months, the office has also received new, stricter laws.

SAMR's strength has been boosted after the Chinese president said last month that strengthened antitrust powers were needed to control the giants that play a leading role in the country's consumer sector.

A legal source close to SAMR said: The government didn't think this was allowed before, but it is now. This means the need to regulate Internet companies that are considered higher than the law. .

As the review deepens, CEOs of major internet companies are now required to submit routine reports to the antitrust agency on any transaction or merger practice that might violate antitrust rules.

Due to the heavy workload, SAMR has begun testing its activities in more cities and allowing local offices to review cases instead of handling all cases in Beijing.

Investors are now focusing on who will be the next target of China's antitrust agency among domestic tech companies.

The heavy fine imposed on a large Chinese tech company sends a powerful message across the tech industry: Chinese regulators, like their European counterparts, are serious about cracking down on the big tech companies.

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