Focus topics

China’s anti-monopoly campaign: not only targeting tech giants​

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  • The recent crackdown on China’s tech giants like Alibaba and Meituan in the name of anti monopoly has raised doubts about the regulatory role and instrumentalization of China’s anti monopoly regulations.​
  • On the other hand, historical data shows that China’s anti-monopoly campaigns affected many sectors, especially consumer-oriented companies like pharma or auto.​
  • Most surprisingly, public utility is the sector most affected of all – a sector dominated by regional state-owned enterprises.​
  • Beyond policy-motivated crackdowns, China anti-monopoly enforcement is catching up to international standards and is also driven by genuine fair competition concerns.​
  • New regulations also try to clarify legal boundaries by introducing the “Safe Harbor” concept, exempting monopolistic agreements among companies below a certain market share from antitrust investigation.​
  • Ambiguous legal terms will however continue to provide leeway for political interventions. Similarly, it remains to observe how independently the newly established Anti-Monopoly Bureau will operate. ​
  • 2021 alerted foreign companies to take antitrust enforcement in China very seriously. In 2022, especially consumer product businesses should be highly cautious.​

Sinolytics is a European consulting and analysis company that focuses entirely on China. It advises European companies on their strategic orientation and concrete business activities in China.


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