China to toughen antitrust regulation amid push for common prosperity: top meeting
Published: Aug 30, 2021 10:13 PM
The headquarters of DiDi in Beijing Photo:VCG

The headquarters of DiDi in Beijing Photo:VCG

China will toughen antitrust regulations and push for the implementation of policies to ensure fair competition, as the country pursues high-quality development and common prosperity, according to a top-level meeting on Monday.

In a fresh sign of China's resolve to further strengthen market regulations, a meeting of the central committee for deepening overall reform approved guidelines on ramping up antitrust regulations and improved implementation of fair competition policies, according to the Xinhua News Agency.

The meeting also urged moves to foster a market environment for fair competition, create wide space for the development of various market entities, especially small and medium-sized businesses, and better protect consumers' rights and interests, under the context of the country's strategic push for high-quality development and common prosperity. 

Analysts said that antimonopoly regulations could be market-oriented means, rather than an administrative tool, for China to redistribute wealth and achieve the goal of common prosperity.

"Conglomerates have an overwhelming edge in resource distribution, and they could easily abuse their market domination to exploit consumers and squeeze out small- and medium-sized competitors. This will only widen the wealth disparity," Yu Xinmiao, an associate professor at the Shanghai International College of Intellectual Property, told the Global Times on Monday. 

"China's antitrust efforts give small and medium-sized players - which are big contributors to China's common prosperity goal - a chance to challenge super-sized companies, to earn room for growth, and to reduce the wealth gap," Yu said. 

He noted that the ongoing moves are conducive to creating a relatively balanced and fair market environment - building on which China could steadily march toward the secondary centenary goal.

Monday's meeting came as Chinese regulators have moved swiftly in strengthening antitrust regulations.

The country's top market regulator announced in April a record $2.8 billion antitrust fine on e-commerce firm Alibaba. Later that month, an anti-monopoly investigation was also launched into food delivery giant Meituan.

Also on Monday, China's top market regulator said that it had launched a probe into Meituan's acquisition of bike-sharing platform Mobike without declaring the deal to regulators in advance, as the law requires.

The regulator also launched an investigation into China's power bank rental firm Soudian's acquisition of another power bank start-up Jiedian, which was completed in April.

The meeting on Monday also stressed that the country will aim for coordination between development and security, efficiency and fairness, vitality and order, and the domestic market and the international market, holding onto the dual goals of regulation and development.

Also, rules will be crystallized, baselines will be drawn and "red and green lights" will be set to guide businesses to follow the Party's leadership and serve the overall plan for economic and social development, according to the meeting.