The current press is buzzing with news about the recent increase in antitrust investigations involving foreign companies with operations in China, and reports of foreign companies being told to expect higher fines if they “put up a fight” during investigations. At the same time, the Chinese enforcement agencies have started to make their decisions public. Putting these developments in perspective, the take-away is that antitrust in China should be taken seriously, the enforcement agencies are still in the development stage, and some progress is being made in transparency of decision-making.
Continue Reading Antitrust Investigations in China: Putting Things in Perspective

On August 7, 2013, the National Development and Reform Commission (“NDRC”) fined six powdered milk companies – five foreign and one Hong Kong-based – RMB668 million (approximately US$109 million) for engaging in anti-competitive practices and illegal price-fixing, the largest fine ever for an Anti-Monopoly Law (“AML”) violation in China.
Continue Reading China Hands Milk Producers the Largest Anti-Monopoly Violation Fine

On March 29, 2013, the Guangdong High People’s Court ruled that Tencent, Inc. (“Tencent”) did not violate China’s Anti-Monopoly Law (“AML”). In the first lawsuit of its kind, Beijing Qihoo Technology Co. Ltd. (“Qihoo”) sued Tencent under the AML, claiming Tencent was engaging in anti-competitive behavior. They sought ¥150 million in damages and an injunction against Tencent.
Continue Reading Qihoo 360 v. Tencent: A Landmark Decision under China’s Anti-Monopoly Law

By Becky Koblitz 

Since the Anti-monopoly Law (“AML”) has come into effect in August 2008, MOFCOM has issued 16 conditional approvals requiring certain structural or behavioral remedies in order to prevent the anticompetitive consequences that, from MOFCOM’s perspective, could arise as a result of the transaction. On March 27, 2013, the Ministry of Commerce (“MOFCOM”) requested public comments by April 26, 2013 on draft provisions (for unofficial translation by SMRH, please see here) concerning the evaluation, negotiation, implementation, monitoring, reconsideration of the remedies used in the conditional approvals issued as a result of the pre-merger review process as well as related sanctions. Once the draft provisions are finalized, they will replace the 2010 interim provisions on the acquisition and divesture of assets.Continue Reading MOFCOM Requests Public Comments on Draft Provisions Related to Remedies Imposed in Conditional Approvals

By Becky Koblitz and Ling Zhang

PRC companies should be careful not to interpret as carte blanche for anti-competitive behavior a recent policy statement by the Chinese government encouraging PRC companies to coordinate their activities and cooperate with each other while investing overseas. The statement also highlights the need for foreign companies to be on guard for possible anticompetitive conduct by their PRC business partners (and competitors).Continue Reading Is China Giving Carte Blanche for Anti-Competitive Conduct by PRC Companies Doing Business Overseas?

By Becky Koblitz

This past February the US Department of Justice (“DOJ”) and European Commission (“Commission”) cleared Google Inc.’s acquisition of Motorola Mobility Holdings Inc. without any conditions. In contrast, on May 19, 2012 the Chinese Ministry of Commerce (“MOFCOM”) approved the acquisition subject to what some observers believe were over-cautious conditions linked to a lack of experience and institutional resources.Continue Reading China’s MOFCOM Grapples With Open Source Issues In Google-Motorola Deal

By Becky Koblitz

We often hear about how China’s merger review “diverges” from other jurisdictions, most recently in reaction to conditional approvals of the Seagate/Samsung and Western Digital/Hitachi mergers. But China’s MOFCOM is merely doing its homework. Similar to “fusion” cuisine, MOFCOM practices “fusion” merger control as it blends two aspects: its mandate under the Anti-Monopoly Law (“AML”), and the antitrust theories of other jurisdictions.Continue Reading MOFCOM’s “Fusion” Approach to Chinese Merger Control

On February 16, 2012 the Beijing office of Sheppard Mullin had a reception to celebrate the opening of new office space in China World Trade Center in the central business district. Firm Chairman Guy Halgren welcomed our 120-plus guests. Prior to the reception, Sheppard Mullin hosted a roundtable discussion on the Anti-Monopoly Law of China (“AML”). We had 18 participants, including in-house counsel for major corporations, as well as the German Chamber of Commerce. Our guest speaker, Mr. Zhang Yuqing, former director general counsel of the Chinese Ministry of Commerce (“MOFCOM”), who headed the inter-agency group which developed the AML, spoke on two topics which will probably be “hot” this year: a new regulation which will fine companies which didn’t report their transactions and went ahead with the transactions, and another regulation that deals with national security review. Gary Halling, head of Sheppard Mullin’s antitrust practice, spoke about recent enforcement trends in the U.S, specifically with respect to cartels. Michael Zhang of Sheppard Mullin’s Shanghai office also attended and gave his views on investment structures. The subsequent discussion among the participants was lively.

Sheppard Mullin hosts such roundtable discussions periodically, where we invite government officials and representatives of companies to exchange ideas and ask questions in an informal, off-the-record setting. If you are interested in participating in future roundtable discussions please contact Becky Koblitz, email address: Below are the opening remarks of Becky Koblitz, Special Counsel, Beijing office of Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton LLP.Continue Reading China Anti-Monopoly Law: What might we see in 2012?

The Chinese State Council has officially implemented a Security Review System for Mergers and Acquisitions of Domestic Enterprises by Foreign Investors (the “Review System”) based on a set of interim rules (the “Rules”) issued earlier this year.Continue Reading China Implements a Security Review System for Certain Mergers and Acquisitions of Domestic Enterprises by Foreign Investors

Since the Anti-Monopoly Law of China (the "AML") came into effect in August 2008, attention has been focused on its enforcement and effect on the Chinese market. While the public doubts the government has motivation in enforcing the law robustly against state-owned giants, individuals and private firms have been actively bringing private actions in court against these business giants. Chongqing Insurance Association, China Mobile, China Netcom, Baidu, Shanda Interactive Entertainment, and Sinopec have been defendants in the first batch of anti-monopoly litigations.Continue Reading Two Anti-Monopoly Cases Are Settled in China

The website of the Anti-monopoly Bureau of the Ministry of Commerce (“Anti-monopoly Bureau”) has become “the must-see site” for antitrust lawyers practicing in China. See Since the beginning of 2009, the Anti-monopoly Bureau has used the site to announce six drafts of various provisions and guidelines, and two transitional guidelines regarding implementation of a new pre-merger filing system under the Anti-monopoly Law.

Following the announcement of thresholds for pre-merger filing in China, Anti-monopoly Bureau is actively constructing the new pre-merger filing system in compliance with the Anti-monopoly Law and working to clarify vague areas of the new law.
 Continue Reading Chinese Pre-Merger Notifications: Anti-monopoly Bureau of MOFCOM Plans to Launch Series of New Rules