Earlier this week, China’s bureau for regulating monopolies released draft rules that define, for the first time, what constitutes anti-competitive behavior. The draft regulation by the State Administration for Market Regulation covers areas including pricing, payment methods, and use of data to target shoppers. It’s the most wide-sweeping attempt to regulate what Beijing sees as monopolistic behavior by the country’s tech giants that have grown significantly in the last few years. The agency is seeking public feedback on the draft rules until Nov. 30.
Late last month, Alibaba founder Jack Ma made some comments that appeared critical of China’s financial regulator. That was seen as something that stoked regulators into suspending Ant Group’s IPO. And some observers say it could also be a factor behind the latest antitrust rules.
Huawei is another example. Before U.S. sanctions were placed on the smartphone maker, Huawei had a thriving international smartphone and network gear business. Companies like Huawei are key to China’s broader global ambitions to be a technology superpower. And in regulating the Chinese technology sector, Beijing will need to balance that goal.