Chinese regulator tightens antitrust rules

Chinese regulator tightens antitrust rules

The State Administration for Market Regulation (SAMR) of China has published new antitrust rules. They aim to regulate Internet platforms by tightening the current restrictions that Chinese tech giants face.

The new rules consolidate the bill issued in November last year and clarify some monopolistic practices that the regulator intends to suppress in the future. The new rules are expected to put pressure on China’s major internet platforms, including e-commerce sites Taobao and Tmall, as well as payment services Alipay and WeChat Pay.

The rules published on the SAMR website prohibit companies from different types of behavior, including forcing sellers to choose only one platform for cooperation, which is a long-standing practice in the country’s market. In addition, tech giants will no longer be able to set fixed prices, restrict technology diffusion, and use algorithms to manipulate the market.

SAMR believes this approach will help “stop monopolistic behavior in the platform economy and protect fair competition in the market“. It is worth noting that in recent months, the Chinese authorities have significantly tightened the rules for regulating the activities of their technology companies. One of the results of this was the antitrust investigation against the Alibaba Group, which was launched in December last year. The regulator has previously warned Alibaba about the need to abandon a number of practices, including forcing sellers to sign exclusive cooperation agreements.

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