China's latest conference on deepening overall reform demonstrated once more that the country's antitrust efforts are not aimed at regulating certain individual players, but at creating a fair market for all kinds of entities from home and abroad, industry experts said on Tuesday.
They made the comments after President Xi Jinping called at a high-level meeting on Monday for stronger anti-monopoly efforts and enhanced enforcement of fair competition policies to create more growth room for smaller companies and better protect consumer rights.
"The country's recent antitrust efforts again proved that the main aim is to drive different players to maintain fair market order and drive market innovations, which is equal for all market entities," said Zhong Gang, executive director of the Competition Law Research Institute at East China University of Political Science and Law.
"It also showed that China is unswervingly driving a business environment that is international, market-oriented and legalized," said Zhong.
Noting that recent regulations have focused on platform-based companies, Liu Xu, a research fellow at the National Strategy Institute of Tsinghua University, told China Daily that the nation's market regulators have maintained a generous and inclusive attitude toward the booming internet industry over the past 13 years.
"In terms of publicly filed cases related to market dominance and undeclared operator concentration, the total number of anti-monopoly enforcement cases in traditional industries far exceeded that of the internet industry during the period," Liu said.
At a meeting of the Central Committee for Deepening Overall Reform on Monday, President Xi underlined efforts to foster a level playing field, create broad development space for all types of market entities, and better protect the rights and interests of consumers, in accordance with the strategic vision of fostering a new development paradigm and promoting high-quality development and common prosperity.
The meeting said that China has stepped up anti-monopoly supervision, investigation and punishment of relevant platform-based enterprises that have engaged in monopolistic and anti-competitive behavior, and that this prevents the disorderly expansion of capital and drives the steady improvement of fair competition.
The State Administration for Market Regulation, China's top market regulator, proposed amendments to the country's e-commerce law on Tuesday, saying that licenses should be revoked if platform-based companies fail to take necessary measures against vendors who infringe on intellectual property rights.
"The very reason that recent regulations are focused on platform-based companies is that the concentration of some large internet platform companies has already affected the innovative vitality of the whole industry and the development of small and medium-sized enterprises," Zhong said.
Since last year, a string of Chinese internet heavyweights, including Alibaba Group Holding, Tencent, JD and Suning.com, have been investigated, fined or face fines for alleged monopolistic behavior.
Han Wenxiu, an official with the Central Committee for Financial and Economic Affairs, emphasized at a recent news conference that it was clear that recent regulations on platform-based companies are aimed at those who violate laws and regulations, rather than any private enterprise or foreign capital.
The country's antitrust measures treat all market entities equally, whether they are State-owned enterprises, private enterprises, foreign-funded enterprises or mixed-ownership enterprises, Han said.
On Monday, the meeting also emphasized that more efforts will be made in balancing development and security, efficiency and equality, vitality and order, as well as domestic and international markets.
Li Chao, chief economist at Zheshang Securities, said that, like China, other countries have been exploring ways to achieve a balance between regulation and development, and that in most cases, antitrust efforts have helped various sectors flourish.