SAMR to be 'tolerant' of digital firms to promote innovation, antitrust chief says

27 March 2019 00:00 by Yonnex Li

China’s competition authority will adopt a “tolerant and prudent” approach toward the digital economy in a bid to encourage innovation, making clear its enforcement strategy toward the country’s growing technology sector, its top antitrust official said today.

“We will pay more attention to the antitrust issues with regards to the new economy and new business models,” Wu Zhenguo, director general of the State Administration for Market Regulation’s Antimonopoly Bureau said at a conference* in Washington, DC. “We will hold a tolerant and prudent attitude on enforcement so as to promote an innovation-friendly environment for market participants.”

Wu said SAMR also plans to commence evaluation of the competition landscape in the emerging industries.

Wu’s remarks come amid growing concerns within the country about potentially problematic behavior by domestic technology giants. Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent have been subject to complaints of abuse of dominance.

SAMR’s stance is also broadly consistent with that of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology. This month, a think tank for the regulator suggested SAMR continue to exercise tolerance in its oversight of the country's Internet giants, citing the big gap between Chinese players and their US rivals in global competition.

*American Bar Association Antitrust Spring Meeting 2019. Washington, DC. March 27-29, 2019.

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