China Ups Antitrust Scrutiny On National Internet Firms

Chinese government agents, including the antitrust watchdog, the cyber police, and tax authorities paid surprise visits to multiple domestic internet companies, including Didi Chuxing Technology Co, to check on possible antitrust violations, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The agencies, including the State Administration for Market Regulation, the Cyberspace Administration of China, and the State Tax Administration agents, have grilled senior executives, downloaded contracts, financial records, and collected emails, internal communications.

These actions are a part of a regulatory review that followed submissions of self-examinations by 34 technology companies summoned in April.

The antitrust watchdog held another meeting with provincial-level regulators and asked them to follow up on the investigations in May.

The 34 companies included short-video app operator Bytedance Ltd, food-delivery firm Meituan, and social media company Tencent.

The State Administration for Market Regulation senior official harped the importance of antimonopoly law enforcement for ensuring fair competition.

In 2020, the Chinese government canceled financial-technology firm Ant Group Co.’s initial public offering days after its controlling shareholder, Jack Ma’s speech enraged government leaders and regulators.

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