On 10 November 2017, Vice Minister of Finance Zhu Guangyao announced at a press briefing that China will ease and remove the limits on foreign investments in the financial service sector including securities, banking and insurance. The announcement shows a high-level policy (the “New Policy”) and detailed rules may soon be promulgated, which will certainly bring more opportunities for foreign investors in Chinese financial market.
A recent reform of the Prior Reporting System will likely impact the procedural rights of Foreign Invested Enterprises (FIEs) following domestic arbitration. The 2017 Supreme People’s Court Provisions on the Prior Reporting System dropped on 26 December, 2017. They became effective on 1 January, 2018. The Prior Reporting System originated in 1995. It has been expanded to apply to enforcement of a specific class of awards which have arisen from domestic arbitration proceedings.
The Prior Reporting System has served as an enforcement and annulment process for awards produced from either international arbitration or ‘foreign-related’ arbitration proceedings. Basically, enforcement courts must report ‘up’ to the High People’s Court for that province before they may refuse enforcement. Likewise, High People’s Courts which agreed to refuse enforcement had to report to the Supreme People’s Court. Intermediate courts had served as the first instance forum for enforcement of both domestic and foreign arbitral awards. Deadlines for reporting or reply are sporadically observed. Resultant delays can drag enforcement out a year, or even longer.
Authored by Michael Gu (email@example.com) and Sihui Sun(firstname.lastname@example.org) at AnJie Law Firm
Four months after seeking comments, the National Development and Reform Commission ("NDRC") released “Price Conduct Guidelines on Operators of Drugs prone to Shortages and APIs ” (“Guidelines”) on 16 November 2017. This is the first price-related anti-monopoly guidelines for a specific industry since the Anti-Monopoly Law was implemented. The Guidelines provide risk assessment warning and compliance guidance for pricing monopolistic behaviours involving both drugs prone to shortages and active pharmaceutical ingredients (“APIs”). For the first time, the Guidelines clarify that enforcement agencies use the "Prohibition plus Exemption" principle to identify pricing monopolistic agreements and refine the consideration of certain abusive activities (e.g. unfair pricing and refusal to deal). In addition, the Guidelines remove controversial provisions such as exclusive dealing that is included in the draft Guidelines. We recommend that the relevant pharmaceutical enterprises should conduct the anti-monopoly risk audit by reference to the Guidelines and adopt more strict compliance measures to identify and prevent the relevant legal risks.
On 4 November 2017, the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress of China finally passed the long-awaited amendments to the Anti-Unfair Competition Law (AUCL), which takes effect on 1 January 2018.This is the first time the AUCL has been amended since it came into effect in 1993, and it will have significant impact on business practice in China.
The revision of the AUCL covers various legal issues, such as acts of confusion (Article 6), commercial bribery (Article 7), false or misleading business promotion (Article 8), infringement upon trade secrets (Article 9), illegal prize-giving sales (Article 10), spread of rumors or misleading information (Article 11), and Internet-related unfair competition by technical means (Article 12).
In particular, the revised AUCL included a new section addressing the Internet-related unfair competition. Some of the unfair competition behaviour(e.g. false or misleading online business promotion)are more like an online version of the traditional acts of unfair competition. Other Internet-related unfair competition behaviour is unique in the digital age driven by information technical means.
This article mainly focuses on the latter, i.e. unique unfair completion in the digital world,and endeavors to illustrate some precedents and interpretations of Article 12 of the AUCL and analyze how Article 12 will be applied and enforced inpractice.
Authored by Zhan Hao (email@example.com) and Sharif Hendry (firstname.lastname@example.org) at AnJie Law Firm.
The Chinese insurance market continues to grow unabated. While structural changes have seen a drop-off in infrastructure investment and its corresponding high levels of GDP growth, the services sector, and finance in particular, is growing strongly. This shift towards a knowledge based, digital economy is fuelling growth not only in IT, pharmaceuticals and banking, but also insurance .This growth is in line with the government’s plan to target a doubling of the rate of insurance penetration (insurance premiums as a percentage of GDP) from its previous level of around 2.4% to 5% by 2020 . By this point it is expected that insurance premium income will have reached 4.5 trillion RMB, with total industry assets of 25 trillion RMB. If this aim comes to fruition, it would mean the Chinese insurance market usurping the US to become the world’s largest insurance market .
At the China Competition Policy Forum in Shanghai on August 31, 2017, a high standing official of the Price Supervision and Antimonopoly Bureau (PSAB) gave comment on the potential enactment of regulations on Standard Essential Patent (SEP) licensing practice by China’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC). This proposal follows in the wake of forthcoming draft Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) related antitrust guidelines that are expected to provide an analytical framework and recommended approaches to SEP related issues in China. The new proposed SEP guidelines will advise on a more fixed approach to the pricing mechanism for SEP licenses, as they apply to products used or sold in China , since these would not be covered under the forthcoming IPR guidelines.
ZhongAn, a Chinese insurance company selling online insurance products, is representative of a new wave of “insurtech” companies; insurers engaging with online distribution models (or tech companies foraying into insurance) that recognize the gains to be had by entering this emerging market. The China Insurance Regulatory Commission (NDRC) has been forthright in recognizing and encouraging innovation centered on new types of insurance products and online distribution on a national level, and on the back of this favorable regulatory environment, companies and investors are following suit.
The healthcare industry has gradually become one of the key focal points of the anti-monopoly law enforcement in China. As of the end of July 2017, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) and the State Administration for Industry and Commerce (SAIC) have concluded and published nine anti-monopoly penalty cases, targeting 16 healthcare enterprises with a total fine of about RMB 134 million since the implementation of the Anti-Monopoly Law in 2008. We foresee the two law enforcement authorities potentially raising a more forceful ‘anti-monopoly windstorm’ in the healthcare industry in the future and possibly investigating and penalizing in succession certain well-known pharmaceutical and medical device enterprises. Through the investigation and handling of a series of cases, the NDRC and SAIC have accumulated a significant amount of experience in the healthcare industry sector. Healthcare enterprises are likely to face a more serious anti-monopoly compliance challenge.
Authored by Zhan Hao (email@example.com) and Sharif Hendry (firstname.lastname@example.org) at AnJie Law Firm
As of today, the recently adopted ‘China Risk Oriented Solvency System’, also known as “C-ROSS”, is the only regime by which a Mainland insurer’s capital adequacy is regulated. Following the implementation of China’s 13th Five-Year plan in 2016, the China Insurance Regulatory Commission (CIRC), as the industry’s sole regulator, published an outline of the plan, including several goals relating to the reformation, innovation and regulation of the insurance industry. This draws interesting comparisons with the overseas capital adequacy regimes of other major jurisdictions, notably with Solvency II in the EU. Both these reforms mark a fundamental shift towards a risk-based, market-oriented approach to estimating capital requirements, being geared as they are towards individual insurance entities, rather than the previous "one-model-fits-all" approach. This is expected to lead to greater market efficiency in managing risk, and enhance consumer protection. For China, it marks a renewed focus on both volume and value for the domestic insurance sector, implicitly recognizing that better risk management includes all drivers of product profitability, including product terms and conditions, guarantees, pricing and underwriting . As a result, the transition towards fully implementing, supervising and enforcing the C-ROSS regime is already having far reaching repercussions.