China drafts new antitrust guideline for internet companies

Out-Law News | 19 Nov 2020 | 5:30 am |

China has published a draft antitrust guideline to deal with what it said is monopolistic behaviour by internet companies.

The State Administration for Market Regulation released the guideline on Tuesday. It targets what the government said are monopolistic behaviours by internet platforms; aims to reduce administrative law enforcement and operator compliance costs; to strengthen anti-monopoly supervision, and to safeguard consumer and public interests.

It is applicable to internet companies and is based on the framework of the Antimonopoly Law, the guideline said.

Claimed monopolistic practices by internet platforms include as requiring a provider to deal exclusively on one platform, or offering differentiated pricing to customers based on their shopping history. These could be outlawed.

China proposed an amendment to this law in January, including internet companies. It will seek public opinion on the draft until the end of this November.

Leo Xin, an e-commerce expert at Pinsent Masons, the firm behind Out-Law, said, "In addition to this new antitrust guideline, we have seen that the relevant regulatory bodies recently issued other regulations such as Interim Provisions on Regulating the Promotion Activities and Guidelines on Enhancing the Regulation of Live Internet Broadcast Marketing, with the aim of further regulating and promoting a smooth development of the 'online economy'."