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Stephen Crosswell

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Stephen Crosswell is a partner in Baker McKenzie's Competition practice in Hong Kong, where he oversees competition matters in Hong Kong, China, Vietnam and Korea. He is consistently recognized as a leading lawyer for competition/antitrust by Chambers Asia. He wrote the Hong Kong chapters of Sweet & Maxwell's Competition Law in China & Hong Kong and the Oxford University Press Global Antitrust Compliance Handbook. Mr. Crosswell regularly speaks at leading antitrust events in Asia. He is also involved in capacity building with regional regulators and antitrust policy work. Prior to joining Baker McKenzie, Mr. Crosswell headed a Magic Circle firm's antitrust and competition practice in Hong Kong and coordinated their overall practice in Asia.

The wide-ranging proposed amendments to China’s Antimonopoly Law (AML) (“Proposed Amendments”) were published for public comments immediately after being presented to China’s top legislature for the first reading. It is clear from the Proposed Amendments that China intends to continue to strengthen antitrust enforcement.

The local antitrust regulator’s recent fine of USD 45.62 million on an electrical product manufacturer follows SAMR’s record USD 117 million fine for RPM earlier this year. SAMR also continues to actively enforce failure-to-notify/gun-jumping violations, imposing 24 penalty decisions over Q3 of 2021. The authority may be contemplating addressing illegal price-related behaviours under the Pricing Law, in addition to the Anti-monopoly Law.

Competition authorities around the world continue to sharpen their focus on markets for employee talent. The current push to scrutinize competition issues in labor markets can be traced to guidance issued in October 2016 by federal antitrust enforcers in the United States.

On 10 November 2020, China’s State Administration for Market Regulation (SAMR) published draft Anti-Monopoly Compliance Guidelines for the Platform Economy (“Draft Guidelines”) for public consultation.1

The Draft Guidelines clearly signal that stronger antitrust enforcement in China’s tech sector is likely. This appears to be driven by a desire on the part of the Chinese government to rein in the growing strength of internet platforms, and to encourage a more diverse market structure.  

The Draft Guidelines are expected to be finalized by the end of this year or early next year.