The article aims to provide an overview of Hong Kong’s merger control regime, which is voluntary in nature and – substantively speaking – only applies to mergers involving a telecommunications carrier licensee, as well as other strategic considerations at early stages of transactions.
This piece was originally published on Practical Law and is republished with the permission of the publishers.
The principal competition legislation in Hong Kong is the Competition Ordinance (Cap 619) which came into full effect on 14 December 2015. The Competition Ordinance prohibits businesses (undertakings) from entering into agreements with other undertakings that prevent, restrict or distort competition in Hong Kong. It also prohibits businesses with a significant degree of market power from abusing their market power in a way which prevents, restricts or distorts competition in Hong Kong.
On 24 June 2022, China’s National Peoples’ Congress approved far reaching amendments to China’s Anti-Monopoly Law which become effective from 1 August 2022 (“AML Amendments”).
Alongside the AML Amendments, the State Administration for Market Regulation has issued for public comment proposed updates to key implementing rules and regulations concerning cartels and vertical restraints, abuse of dominance, merger control and abuse of IP rights.
Of particular relevance to business operations in China and M&A activity, the AML Amendments include stricter penalties for antitrust violations; increased enforcement powers; revised thresholds for merger control; an express prohibition of hub & spoke arrangements; potential exemptions/defenses for certain vertical restraints including resale price maintenance, and continued scrutiny of the platform economy.
On 24 June 2022, China’s National People’s Congress approved far reaching amendments to China’s Anti-Monopoly Law which will become effective from 1 August 2022 (“AML Amendments”).
Alongside the AML Amendments, China’s competition regulator has published revised draft guidelines on a wide range of topics for public consultation. This reform package will have significant consequences for the future of merger control and antitrust enforcement in China.
Baker McKenzie is delighted to invite you to join us on 21 July 2022 for a webinar via Zoom, where our Baker McKenzie antitrust and competition specialists in Beijing and Hong Kong will provide you with a concise briefing on key considerations with respect to these reforms and practical implications for your business.