Weekly Newsletter on Chinese Antitrust 22.08-28.08.2022

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Weekly Newsletter on Chinese Antitrust 22.08-28.08.2022

Review №28 on Chinese Antitrust News from BRICS Antimonopoly Centre Experts

- SAMR on regulation of the platform economy
- China supports attracting foreign investors
- Successes of the Internet development for 10 years
- GigaCloud Technology listed on Nasdaq
- Digitalization of SMEs
- Platforms revealed their algorithms
- Alibaba Carbon Account
- Alibaba secondary listing approved
- China's first list of ESG companies
- Weibo will display comments in the user account
- Bytedance launched a search service
- The regulator warned taxi platforms against violations
-Tech companies founded the Metaverse Institute

SAMR on regulation of the platform economy

On August 19th, under the chairmanship of the new head of SAMR, Lo Wen, a nationwide meeting on market regulation was held. The event emphasized the need to create a fair competitive environment for all market participants. The regulator separately noted that it is necessary to “normalize” the regulation of the platform economy, accelerate the implementation of program measures for the healthy development of platforms, intensively form the regulatory system with a focus on preventing violations, and also improve tools for early detection and elimination of violations as soon as possible. In addition, efforts must be made to create a stable, transparent and predictable market environment, develop "political savvy", treat all types of market actors equally - on an equal footing, strengthen propaganda, guide public opinion and respond in a timely manner to the concerns of the general public.

Source: SAMR

China supports attracting foreign investors

At a press conference, when asked "Is DiDi's verification completed?" representatives of the Chinese Cyberspace Administration replied that the next step of the agency will be to guide and encourage DiDi to fully correct all existing violations in order to eliminate risks and hidden security threats. 

“We have always supported and will continue to support domestic companies in the legitimate and justified development in foreign capital markets. External openness is a fundamental national course; openness is a bright symbol of modern China. China's unwavering determination to strengthen high-level openness, share development opportunities with the world, promote the development of economic globalization towards greater openness, tolerance, common good, balance and win-win,” said Sun Weimin, head of the Network Security Coordination Division. 

Earlier, the regulator fined online taxi service DiDi Global $1.2 billion for violating cybersecurity, data security, and personal data protection laws.

Source: Weixin

Successes of the Internet development for 10 years

As part of the "China in 10 Years" series of events (the period of Xi Jinping's presidency), the Propaganda Ministry held a press conference with representatives of the China Cyberspace Administration. Deputy Head and Speaker of the Office Niu Yibin said that during this time, China has been steadily transforming from a major Internet power into a strong one: the system of integrated Internet governance is being improved, the construction of network infrastructure is accelerating, the digital economy and sovereign innovative technologies are developing, and the cybersecurity system is being strengthened. In the future, the regulator plans to simultaneously ensure both the development and security of the sector, increase public awareness of cybersecurity and preventive capacity. 

• The number of Internet users increased by 468 million 

• Average download speed increased almost 40 times 

• Online retail sales grew 10 times 

• Over 1 billion registered users on the digital government platform

• More than 100 regulatory documents have been developed, including the Law on Cybersecurity 

• Removed more than 20 billion pieces of illegal and harmful information 

• More than 100 thematic educational events are held annually

Source: Weixin

GigaCloud Technology listed on Nasdaq 

E-commerce company GigaCloud Technology went public on Nasdaq in an exceptional IPO amid the threat of delisting from US exchanges for many Chinese companies. GigaCloud Technology has said it is ready to change auditors if necessary to comply with US law. “Like many other Chinese companies planning to list in the US, we had to put the process on hold because of the DiDi case. But then we decided to continue because we want to become a public company in a market close to our customers,” said GigaCloud Technology CFO David Lau. He also stressed that while they are headquartered in China, where most of the employees work, all of the company's revenue is generated outside of China, making GigaCloud Technology less vulnerable to potential changes in Chinese regulatory policy.

Source: WSJ

Digitalization of SMEs

The Ministry of Industry and Informatization held a seminar on digitalization for small and medium-sized enterprises. The authorities heard proposals from companies to support their digital transformation, develop criteria for assessing the level of digitalization and guidelines for digital transition. The agency stressed that the digital transformation of SMEs is an important way to support their innovative development and increase their key competitiveness, and it should be carried out by both the authorities and the market: it is necessary, on the one hand, to strengthen the leadership role of the government and state financial support, and on the other hand - empower large companies with the functions of a “conductor”.

Source: Finance.sina

Platforms revealed their algorithms

Data about their algorithms was provided to the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) by the most popular Internet platforms in the country: Tencent's WeChat, Alibaba Taobao and Tmall marketplaces, Douyin and Kuaishou short video platforms, Weibo microblog, Meituan food delivery service, etc. The registration data of the algorithms contains basic principles of their functioning, mechanism of action, scope and purpose of application. For example, the Weibo operator provided information on the formation of the list of the most popular search queries: the algorithm compiles the TOP-50 list based on the search, published posts, reads and comments, automatically excluding paid comments and spam. The order in the list is determined by the formula: (“search index” + “discussion index” + “dissemination index”) * “interactivity coefficient”. Such preliminary descriptions are provided for each registered algorithm. 

On March 1st this year, the Regulations on the regulation of algorithmic recommendations in the provision of Internet information services came into force - they require operators to enter data on the algorithms used into the system: name, type, scope. According to the Regulations, the requirement to register algorithms applies only to suppliers "related to public opinion platforms or capable of mobilizing the public." 

Source: Cac.gov

Alibaba Carbon Account

Alibaba has added a carbon accounting feature to the Taobao app. The company's goal is to help users lead a more sustainable lifestyle. For this, the Taobao shopping app has implemented the Carbon88 tool. With it, consumers earn points when they buy "lowcarbon" or environmentally friendly products. You can also upload photos showing the user's contribution to reducing carbon emissions - for example, a photo of a reusable shopping bag or your own cups instead of store-bought bottled water - and Carbon88 will tell you how much carbon it helped to save. Carbon Points in the app can be redeemed for cash or redeemed at low-carbon online stores.

Source: Baijiahao

Alibaba secondary listing approved

Alibaba Group said the Hong Kong Securities Exchange has approved its application for an initial listing. The company already has a secondary listing in Hong Kong and plans to complete the IPO process by the end of the year. 

The measure comes amid a potential delisting from the U.S. exchange due to noncompliance with the requirements of the Foreign Companies Liability Act, and will also help Chinese investors directly purchase shares of the digital giant in Hong Kong through the Stock Connect program, Bloomberg reported.

Source: China.daily

China's first list of ESG companies 

Forbes China published the ESG-50 list for the first time: it includes 50 Chinese companies from 10 industries, including finance, energy, real estate, construction, Internet, electronics, etc. The list was compiled in order to identify the best Chinese experience in the field of ESG, talk about working in this direction and determine development trends. Companies selected from the 2000 largest public companies according to Forbes Global 2022.

Source: 36kr.com

Weibo will display comments in the user account

In order to combat cyberbullying and create a friendly atmosphere on the site, the Weibo microblog (Chinese equivalent of Twitter) will start displaying on the user's page in test mode not only his posts, but also comments left on public pages. If a user has left multiple comments on the same post, only the last one will be displayed. The measure is intended to encourage users to adopt a friendlier tone when creating content and participating in discussions. The feature will be activated for a small number of users, refined based on feedback, and subsequently extended to a wider range.

Source: The paper

Bytedance launched a search service

The developer of TikTok and its Chinese version, Douyin, has launched its own search service Wukong, which is positioned as an ad-free search engine. This includes a gesture towards the largest Chinese search service Baidu - the latter is often accused of paid placements in search results. Some of the search results illustrate well the differences in the approaches of the two apps: for the query "double eyelid" (a common beauty standard in Asia), Baidu gives advertisements for plastic surgery clinics, while Wukong gives various medical articles and recommendations. In addition, Wukong also has an "incognito mode" feature where the search history is not saved in the browser. However, Wukong still prioritizes the products of its developer Bytedance: the search results often show content from Douyin, the news aggregator Jinri Toutiao, and others. Baidu is also engaged in a similar practice: the search engine highlights materials from the Baidu Baike encyclopedia and the Wenku document database.

Source: SCMP

The regulator warned taxi platforms against violations

The Ministry of Transportation of China held a meeting with 11 online taxi ordering platforms, where they noted the need to correct all operational violations affecting the legitimate rights of employees and passengers, as well as eliminate hidden security risks. The meeting was attended by DiDi, Amap, Meituan Dache and other representatives of the Internet taxi industry. According to the Ministry, following the results of monitoring the industry, processing public appeals and media reports, it was revealed that some platforms do not operate in full compliance with applicable law and do not always fulfill corporate obligations. The agency urged to study and eliminate potential risks in order to ensure the stability of the sector.

Source: Global Times

Tech companies founded the Metaverse Institute

The Institute for Collaborative Research on the Metaverse and the Relationship between the Real and the Virtual was founded in Shanghai. Earlier in June, the Metaverse Collaborative Innovation Center was launched, and the opening of the Institute marked the next major milestone in the academic study of the sector. The institute was founded by Fudan University, telecommunications platform Migu (China Mobile), Tencent Interactive Entertainment, Huawei, Epic Games and others. Leading Chinese universities are cofounders: Beijing, People's, Zhejiang and Nanjing.

Source: Pandaily

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