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China clears law to penalise internet firms for abusing market competition

Beijing, June 25 (IANS) In a further crackdown on Internet and digital companies, China has cleared a revised anti-monopoly law that will shut loopholes in existing regulation in terms of abusing market dominant position, drawing a bottom line for private tech firms on “illicit acts that threaten fair market competition”.

The amendment will take effect on August 1.

China’s top legislature on Friday passed an amendment to the anti-monopoly law in an effort to foster a fair, transparent and predictable environment for business operators.

China has been strengthening supervision on the internet economy in the past two years.

In 2021, authorities issued administrative penalties in 98 cases after anti-monopoly probes, involving major internet firms such as Tencent, Alibaba, Meituan, Didi Chuxing, JD.com and Baidu.

The total fine imposed was 21.74 billion yuan ($3.25 billion).

According to a Xinhua report, the amendment, adopted at the closing meeting of the standing committee session of the 13th National People’s Congress, makes it clear that China will formulate and implement competition rules compatible with the socialist market economy and improve a unified, open, competitive and orderly market system.

Built on previous practices and experiences, the amendment improves the design of relevant mechanisms, such as encouraging innovation while protecting fair market competition, stipulating the safe-harbour rule and increasing provisions on the protection of personal privacy and information.

According to the Global Times, the enforcement marks a new era in the normalization of China’s rule-based supervision over the platform economy.

The revised law will further regulate the overall platform economy with standardised rules, and major industry players can continue to grow based on the principle of high-quality development while expanding in accordance with the law, Liu Dingding, a Beijing-based veteran market analyst, was quoted as saying.


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