June 27, 2022
China's Anti-Monopoly Law ("AML") was first introduced in 2008 and has just been amended for the first time since its introduction ("Amended AML").
The final text of the Amended AML, which was published on 24 June 2022, emphasizes the fundamental role of competition policy in China's market economy and encapsulates substantial changes such as introduction of a "stop-the-clock" mechanism to merger review, a relaxed approach towards resale price maintenance ("RPM"), a safe harbour for certain vertical agreements, and platform-specific rules. Furthermore, the overall antitrust penalty regime has been substantially strengthened, and fines can be imposed on individuals as well as undertakings, if they organise or facilitate the conclusion of monopoly agreements. The Amended AML brings China's antitrust regime into a new era, but uncertainties remain in many critical areas.
To provide clarification on the Amended AML, on 27 June 2022, the Chinese antitrust agency, namely the State Administration for Market Regulation ("SAMR"), published six drafts of relevant antitrust regulations and rules for public consultation: (i) Regulations on the Merger Control Filing Thresholds; (ii) Provisions on Prohibition of Monopoly Agreements; (iii) Provisions on Prohibition of Abuse of Dominance; (iv) Provisions on Prohibition of Elimination and Restriction of Competition through Abuse of IP Rights; (v) Provisions on Prohibition of Elimination and Restriction of Competition through Abuse of Administrative Power; and (vi) Provisions on Merger Control Review (collectively, the "Consultation Draft of Implementing Rules"). The public consultation period will end on 27 July 2022, without indicating when the final text is to be published.