China's law-enforcers vow to strengthen legal action against market monopoly
Published: Jan 10, 2021 05:58 PM

A woman pours out a carton of fake and shoddy cigarettes in Xuchang, Central China's Henan Province on Tuesday. A total of 1,239 cartons were smashed and burnt to generate 30,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity. These cigarettes of more than 30 brands had been collected by the city's tobacco monopoly bureau since 2013. Photo: CFP

China has vowed to strengthen legal actions against unfair competition and monopolies on the market to protect the legitimate rights of entities at the Central Political and Legal Work Conference, which was held in Beijing on Saturday and Sunday, according to media reports. 

Chinese officials stressed at the meeting that China will "severely punish" misdeeds which curtail market competition and infringe on the lawful rights of other market entities. They also noted that China will push to improve relevant laws and regulations to establish a market-orientated, international, law-based business environment. 

Chinese government showed rising resolve to strengthen anti-monopoly legislation while it ramped up scrutiny of domestic online giants to prevent market manipulation.  

Regulators have recently launched an anti-monopoly investigation into Alibaba Group. The company was warned about its "choosing one from two" rule under which merchants are required to sign exclusive deals with Alibaba that forbid them to do business with rival platforms. 

Cong Yi, a professor at the Tianjin University of Finance and Economics, saidit is necessary for China to nip the bud of monopolies when such a phenomenonarises. In particular, there is a growing trend of online companies infringing on market rules with the help of big data and algorithm, he said. 

"For example, some e-commerce websites are known to label products with different prices for different customers based on big data study, while the flood of fake products on some online shopping malls has violated market rules," Cong told the Global Times.

According to Cong, if such phenomena are not cleared in time, it will eventually undermine market standards and in fringe on consumers' interests while maximizing income polarization.

"When monopolies emerge, the market can't rectify itself. The maintenance of market fairness hinges on legal management, and it's necessary the government builds a legal system to ensure fair allocation of market resources," Cong said. 

He suggested that China amends the current laws to standardize business conduct in digital operations, such as on issues like data sharing and privacy protection. 

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