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Clifford Chance

Clifford Chance



January 18, 2024

October to December 2023

In China, 238 merger filings were reviewed and cleared by SAMR in the final quarter of 2023, reaching the record high for a single quarter. Put through an over 14-month review period in China, Broadcom's acquisition of VMware cleared its last merger control hurdle by obtaining SAMR's approval subject to a couple of behavioural conditions on 21 November. In addition, the long-overdue amendments to the Chinese merger filing thresholds saw substantial progress of receiving State Council approval in December but the final text of the new thresholds was not released yet. On the antitrust conduct front, SAMR and its local counterparts' efforts primarily went to quashing cartel in construction and real estate sectors as well as excessive pricing by, among others, a state-owned pharmaceutical company Shanghai Pharma, resulting in a total monetary penalty of RMB 1.22 billion (USD 171 million). By way of taking a softer stance in order to strike the right balance in antitrust enforcement, China rolled out a "three notices and one letter" system to give potential infringers sufficient room for correction. Outside China, there were no signs of abated antitrust scrutiny over the digital economy across the region.

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