China releases final anti-monopoly rules targeting major tech and payments firms

Regulation

China has finalized new guidelines to aid in antitrust battle against tech giants. 

On Feb. 7, the State Administration for Market Regulation released finalized rules for its anti-monopoly push against e-commerce and payments giants like Alibaba, Ant Group and Tencent.

The guidance specifically addresses “operators that provide business premises, transaction matching, information exchange and other Internet platform services.” It builds on a host of recent efforts by both the SAMR and the People’s Bank of China to rein in the broader tech industry, specifically targeting payments platforms as the country continues to push forward its own central bank digital currency

The actual terms of the guidance are fairly familiar from antitrust regulation around the world, setting out restrictions on collusion, mergers and price fixing. It is, however, a major step in that broader context.

Just last week, Ant Group reportedly came to an arrangement to restructure its business. The firm had seen the Chinese government shut down its initial public offering in the fall under similar concerns of both Ant Group’s potential monopoly and founder Jack Ma’s criticism of China’s financial regulation.

Cointelegraph has previously noted that authorities in China and the United States are waging similar campaigns to subdue rampant industry abuses among major players in the tech industry. Complicating these legal battles is the fact that anti-competitive measures by major tech firms oftentimes happen by manipulation of data, which requires new investigative technologies to uncover and, oftentimes, new laws to prosecute.

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