The end of 2010 leaves China’s anti-monopoly regulators with several matters to consider, resolve or improve. The anti-monopoly framework is still not well established and consumer rights issues have been badly neglected. End consumers remain at risk of manipulation by collusion between large enterprises, especially on price. Recently, an instant noodle company stopped providing its products because a supermarket chain objected to a price increase and a mobile telecommunications company, facing claims of unreasonable tariffs, refused to reveal the basis of its pricing structure.
The National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) is in charge of price related monopoly agreements (ie, cartels), abuse of dominance and administrative monopoly issues. In comparison with the other two regulatory bodies – the Ministry of Commerce and the State Administration of Industry and Commerce (SAIC) – it remains severely understaffed. Moreover, price regulation is invariably a sensitive issue in China and often attracts criticism. The SAIC issued regulations on non-pricing-related monopoly agreements, abuse of dominance and administrative monopoly in May 2010 (for further details please see "New draft rules on monopoly agreements and abuse of dominant position"), but the NDRC has been slow to follow suit. As the world economy has started to emerge from the financial crisis, many Chinese and foreign economists have criticised distorted market prices and price mismatching in China, making the NDRC even more wary of taking action on anti-monopoly pricing issues.