China is updating its Anti-Monopoly Law that has gone unchanged since it came into force in 2008, increasing antitrust penalties in a clear push for greater control over the digital sector, reports the South China Morning Post. A draft amendment of the law was submitted to the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress for a first reading last week, with the final version expected to be introduced next year.
The draft significantly increases penalties, expands the discretionary power of the State Administration for Market Regulation (SAMR), and “sends a clear signal of tightening control over tech firms,” according to Angela Zhang, an associate professor at the University of Hong Kong’s Faculty of Law.
Among the increased penalties are a tenfold increase in the maximum fine for a procedural failure to notify authorities of a merger transaction, raising it to RMB 5 million ($783,000). This applies even if the transaction does not pose an anti-competitive threat, Zhang noted.