Calls to limit the degree of influence of Internet companies on the market are heard in many countries. The authorities of the USA and Europe are preparing the corresponding additions to the legislative acts, Japan and China are eyeing them. A precedent has been set in China: for the first time, three companies in the Internet sector faced antitrust fines.
As noted by CNBC, the Internet-commerce giant Alibaba, the Tencent-backed company China Literature and Hive Box Technology were “guilty”. China’s State Administration for Market Regulation (SAMR) has ruled that all three companies must pay the government $ 76,463 for not fully reporting their past transactions. The regulator claims that the companies violated the 2008 law aimed at combating abuse of market monopoly position. The transactions of the listed companies reviewed by the government authorities took place between 2014 and 2018.
The amounts of fines are not so great, but for the participants in the Chinese Internet market, they should be a signal for a more thorough declaration of transactions that may come to the attention of local antitrust authorities. The authorities have the right to terminate transactions that may conflict with the anti-monopoly laws of the PRC. According to Refinitiv, over the past ten years, Chinese companies have concluded 8,702 deals totaling $ 507 billion. In theory, each of them could attract the attention of China’s antitrust authorities. According to outside experts, the PRC’s Internet market has developed rapidly over the past twelve years without any special restrictions from the anti-monopoly authorities, but now they make it clear that this time has passed.
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