China regulator proposes new rules to improve anti-monopoly governance

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The Chinese national flag is seen in Beijing, China April 29, 2020. REUTERS/Thomas Peter/File Photo

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BEIJING, June 27 (Reuters) - China's market regulator published on Monday draft rules and provisions aimed at improving its ability to govern antitrust behaviour, as the country prepares to implement a revised anti-monopoly law in August.

The State Administration for Market Regulation (SAMR) said it wanted to seek public comment for its proposals, which range from descriptions on what deals could be perceived as monopolistic to regulations governing how local authorities with the power to restrict competition should behave.

For example, companies will need to seek an antitrust review about their planned mergers or acquisitions if one of the parties' global annual revenue hit over 12 billion yuan ($1.79 billion) and at least two parties' domestic annual sales reached 800 million yuan, the SAMR said.

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Chinese regulators began cracking down in late 2020 on multiple industries, and, in particular, targeted its once free-wheeling "platform economy" companies over behaviours it considered monopolistic, fining the likes of Alibaba Group (9988.HK) and Meituan (3690.HK) billions of dollars.

Last year, the regulators started to amend the country's 2008 anti-monopoly law, adding fresh emphasis on the digital economy and increasing penalty fines for instance. The revisions will take effect on Aug. 1, Xinhua reported last week.

($1 = 6.6871 Chinese yuan renminbi)

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Reporting by Yingzhi Yang, Brenda Goh and the Beijing Newsroom; Editing by Shri Navaratnam and Muralikumar Anantharaman

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