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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.

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.

China’s releases Antitrust Guidelines on the automotive sector and IP rights
China issued Antitrust Guidelines in the Intellectual Property Rights Area
Integrated circuit and software industries set as enforcement priorities
Integrated circuit and software industries set as priorities of China’s antitrust enforcement

New Auto Guidelines represent the first attempt to provide guidance on regulating non-price vertical restraints in China. The IPR Guidelines put forward market share-based safe harbors for the IPR field. The newly released leniency and commitment guidelines provide procedural options for an investigation to end with no or less penalties. China’s State Council calls for strengthened antitrust enforcement to protect fair competition in the integrated circuit and software industries.

HKCC accepts proposed commitments from seaport alliance
The Tribunal approves first cartel settlement
HKCC publishes policy on calculating fines

An alliance among four terminal operators agreed to comply with pricing restrictions and behavioral conditions to settle HKCC’s investigation. The Tribunal has resolved a case by way of approving a consensual application following a settlement between the parties for the first time. The HKCC also published a policy on calculating fines, which sets out a four-step approach to the formulation of recommended pecuniary penalties.

This update was published on 16 October 2020 as part of our quarterly newsletter, Asia Pacific Competition Highlights. Click here to access the full report, which covers the most notable antitrust developments across 11 Asia Pacific jurisdictions.