In 2014, China’s three competition authorities have all been very active in their enforcement practices. A number of new implementing rules have been enacted as part of an effort to further refine China’s antitrust regime. On top of that, a recent wave of high-profile antitrust crackdowns has established China’s standing as one of the most important emerging jurisdictions for antitrust enforcement.
In terms of the rulemaking, the Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) has been the most active one, with four implementing rules published – covering simple case qualifications and review procedure, merger control guidance and imposition of restrictive conditions. The Interim Provisions on Standards Applied to Simple Cases of Concentration of Undertakings (“Provisions on Simple Cases Standards”) published on 13 February 2015, the Guiding Opinions on Notification of Simple Cases of Concentration of Undertakings issued on 18 April 2015 are the set of rules that build up a fast-track merger review system for transactions unlikely to raise competition concern, which is a big step forward for China’s merger review regime. They laid down the criteria for determining cases that qualify as a simple case and provide guidance on the procedure for the notification of simple cases.