China issues new guidelines on anti-monopoly behavior targeting Internet, Telecom News, ET Telecom platforms


BEIJING: China’s market regulator on Sunday issued new anti-monopoly guidelines that target internet platforms, tightening existing restrictions facing the country’s tech giants.

The new rules formalize a previous anti-monopoly bill released in November and clarify a series of monopoly practices that regulators plan to crack down on.

The guidelines are expected to put further pressure on the country’s main internet services, including e-commerce sites such as Alibaba Group’s Taobao and Tmall Markets or They will also cover payment services like Alipay from Ant Group or WeChat Pay from Tencent Holding.

Rules, issued by the State Administration for Market Regulation (SAMR) on its website, prevent businesses from behaving in different ways, including forcing traders to choose between the country’s major internet players, a practice long standing in the market.

SAMR said the latest guidelines “will end monopoly behavior in the platform economy and protect fair competition in the market.”

The notice also says it will prevent companies from setting prices, restricting technology and using data and algorithms to manipulate the market.

In a question-and-answer session accompanying the notice, SAMR said reports of anti-monopoly behavior related to the internet were on the increase and that it faced challenges in regulating the industry.

“The behavior is more concealed, the use of data, algorithms, platform rules, etc. makes it more difficult to discover and determine what monopoly agreements are,” he said. .

In recent months, China has started to tighten oversight of its tech giants, reversing a once-laissez-faire approach.

In December, regulators launched an antitrust investigation into Alibaba Group following the dramatic suspension of the $ 37 billion initial public offering plan of its payments subsidiary, Ant Group.

At the time, regulators warned the company against practices including forcing merchants to sign exclusive cooperation pacts to the detriment of other Internet platforms.

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