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Business Articles Awards > Asian Antitrust

Convergence with Chinese Characteristics? A Cross-Jurisdiction Comparative Study of Recent Merger Enforcement in China

Cunzhen Huang, Fei Deng, Antitrust, Vol. 31, No. 2, Spring 2017.

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In the eight years of China’s Anti-Monopoly Bureau within the Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) started implementing merger reviews under China’s Anti-Monopoly Law (AML), MOFCOM has intervened in a total of 30 cases—two blocked deals and 28 conditional approvals. Although these cases represent a very small percentage of the more than 1600 filings reviewed up to the end of 2016, they provide important insights on where and how MOFCOM has chosen to intervene in proposed mergers.2
Given the significance of these enforcement actions and the amount of information available, we conduct a cross-jurisdictional comparison between each of MOFCOM’s 28 conditional clearances and the corresponding decision of its counterparts in the United States and the European Union. Through a comparison of key characteristics—review time, remedy type, and specific terms imposed—we find that while certain aspects of China’s approach are unique (e.g., a preference on the part of MOFCOM for behavioral remedies), there is a general trend toward convergence (e.g., less use of extreme remedies like hold-separates by MOFCOM and more frequent use of behavioral remedies recently in the United States). From this study, we provide some insights into the recent trends in merger enforcement in China and guidance for practitioners engaged in future global deals in preparing and tailoring their merger filings for different jurisdictions.

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