The Anti-monopoly Bureau of the State Administration for Market Regulation recently published the Guidelines on Leniency for Horizontal Monopoly Agreements. The guidelines propose a relatively reliable leniency system under the Anti-monopoly Law, which is of great significance for improving the effectiveness of antitrust enforcement, while providing a valuable source of guidance for Chinese market players to follow.
China's antitrust agency's greatest competition concerns in the automobile sector relate to vertical restraints. Possibly underscoring this concern, the newly published Antitrust Guidelines on the Automobile Industry placed its main focus on clarifying issues arising therefrom. To help companies in the automobile industry better make their own assessments on antitrust compliance in China, this article explains the antitrust rules relating to vertical restraints provided in the guidelines and analyses their implications.
Alongside increased administrative action, Chinese companies increasingly bring private antitrust actions against rival companies, particularly in the technology sphere. These suits are often accompanied by an administrative complaint that can lead to investigations and penalties. This article clarifies China's hybrid antitrust system in order to better understand the antitrust risks facing foreign enterprises in China.
China's merger review practice has not been negatively affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. According to public statistics, in the first quarter of 2020 the State Administration for Market Regulation (SAMR) completed 111 filing reviews, with a slight year-on-year growth of 0.9%. The current economic downturn raises the question of whether the SAMR will relax its antitrust scrutiny to encourage M&A activity. However, recent merger review practice in China suggests that this has not been the case in the semiconductor sector.
The year 2019 marked the 11th anniversary of the implementation of the Anti-monopoly Law and was also the first full calendar year since the State Administration for Market Regulation (SAMR) became China's single centralised antitrust enforcement agency. Evidently. the SAMR has become more stringent and detail oriented with respect to the analysis of relevant markets and the competition impact of mergers.
Foreign insurers cannot directly sell insurance products in China unless they have successfully established a joint venture or wholly foreign-owned enterprise (WFOE) insurer in mainland China. In light of Shenzhen's recent pilots and reforms, it is now the most favourable destination for foreign insurers seeking to establish a WFOE in mainland China.
Despite the tortuous path ahead for the US election campaigns and the trials and tribulations of 2020, the US-China Phase One Trade Deal remains in place. As China begins to further open its financial market, foreign insurance institutions (FIIs) may be wondering whether non-US FIIs have any chance of benefiting from China's treatment of US insurers. If only US insurers benefit, would that be a Global Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) violation or would it be GATS compliant?
The rapid spread of the COVID-19 pandemic has affected business operations worldwide. For many companies, business interruption (BI) as a result of the pandemic is one of the greatest operational risks of 2020. Although many companies are insured against BI, their coverage may not extend as far as they believe. For example, compensation under a BI policy is often based on the condition that damage to property has occurred. This article sheds some light on this rule.
It is no secret that China's insurance industry presents good upside growth opportunities and China's insurtech market continues to grow rapidly. Foreign insurers are currently underrepresented in this market, even as former market barriers to entry continue to fall. This market presents great potential for foreign insurers, and Western insurers in particular have centuries of experience to share with their Chinese counterparts.
In early 2020, the Luckin Coffee scandal drew attention from the insurance, legal and security industries and turned the spotlight on directors' and officers' (D&O) liability insurance policies in China. With the developing pace of the security and insurance markets, the refreshed focus on D&O insurance gives Chinese underwriters plenty to contemplate.
The General Office of the State Council recently issued the 2020 Legislative Plan, which includes several laws applicable to the cybersecurity sector, such as the Regulations on Network Protection of Minors and the Regulations on the Security Protection of Critical Information Infrastructure.
The Anhui Province government recently issued the Regulations on the Development and Application of Big Data in Anhui Province for public opinion. The draft regulations encourage enterprises, universities, scientific research institutions and other organisations and individuals to engage in the research and development of Big Data technology and give full play to the economic value and social benefits of data resources.
The Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and the State Council have jointly issued the Master Plan for the Construction of the Hainan Free Trade Port. According to the plan, the aim is for the port to be completed and operational as a globally influential duty-free trading centre by 2050. Among other things, the port is expected to open up value-added telecoms services and gradually remove restrictions on the percentage of enterprises' shareholdings which can be held by foreign investors.
In May 2020 the National People's Congress passed the Civil Code, which will take effect on 1 January 2021. The Civil Code includes special provisions on the protection of privacy and personal information and provides that personal information pertaining to natural persons should be protected as a fundamental civil right. The processing of personal information should adhere to the principles of lawfulness, legitimacy and necessity, and excessive and unreasonable processing is prohibited.
While the new Civil Code largely restates the existing Chinese laws on privacy and personal information protection, it applies these laws more broadly and makes it easier for individuals to take civil action in relation to breaches. As such, privacy and personal information protection laws are likely to be enforced more often and more broadly in China from 2021 onwards. Companies that process personal information in China should ensure that their existing privacy practices comply with the new Civil Code.