Briefing

China sets out antitrust rules for tech sector

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The State Administration for Market Regulation has drafted rules aimed at curbing tech giants’ monopolistic power, marking its first attempt at defining under the law anti-competitive practices by the sector. (South China Morning Post)

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Talking point: The regulator is looking at curbing practices including the use of exclusivity clauses and differential treatment based on customer spending and behaviour data. “It signals the end of an era—it will fundamentally change the competition landscape in China for internet companies,” said Scott Yu, an antitrust expert at Zhonglun Law Firm. The share prices of several tech companies fell on the news, with Alibaba down 5.1 per cent and Tencent down about 4.4 per cent. Meituan-Dianping fell 10.5 per cent. The Chinese regulator’s move comes after regulators abruptly suspended Ant Group’s planned record-breaking initial public offering earlier this month. Observers said the move showed China’s president is in charge, and it left several major investment banks with the possibility of losing hundreds of millions of dollars in fees.