The Chinese government is considering increasing the status of its antitrust bureau as it pushes forward with a campaign against anti-competitive behavior, two people familiar with the matter told Reuters. The once low-profile State Administration for Market Regulation (SAMR) has made headlines this year with a push to root-out and penalize anticompetitive behavior, particularly in the vast online “platform” economy.
Under a new structure under consideration by the government, the antitrust bureau would become the National Antimonopoly Bureau and be elevated to deputy-ministerial status, while remaining within SAMR, the two people told Reuters. The higher ranking would help antitrust investigators gain resources when examining mergers and acquisitions, the people said, strengthening their hand as Beijing seeks to rein in the power of corporate behemoths.
The proposed new structure, details of which have not been reported before, would also bolster SAMR’s in-house capability to conduct research that it has previously had to outsource, according to the people.