On 15 November, China’s State Council appointed Gan Lin, a female deputy minister, to head the anti-trust bureau as the government mounted a campaign to tighten its grip over the power of China’s tech giants.
This March, at the ninth meeting of the Central Committee for Financial and Economic Affairs, Xi Jinping stressed the importance of beefing up the regulation on companies’ monopoly practices. Since then, Alibaba, Tencent, Didi, Meituan and others, have been fined for monopoly. Other tech companies were also ordered to rectify their business and avoid anti-competitive behaviours.
Today, China is showing more determination by upgrading its precious anti-trust unit (under the State Administration for Market Regulation) to the National Anti-Monopoly Bureau, with this change giving the bureau access to more resources when conducting investigations.
A new message is that, for the first time on record, the anti-monopoly bureau opened its recruitment to the public through China’s civil service entrance examinations, which has fierce competition with over 2.03 million applicants this year.
By opening 18 vacancies, more than half of all the available positions in The State Administration for Market Regulation, the anti-trust bureau is signalling an important shift and a possible reform soon. With the increase in potential positions and employees, we can see the ramping up effect which will be able to push harder on these tech giants and their anti-competitive attitudes.
Within China, there is an expectation that the smaller tech unicorn companies will now have chances to grow, as before they were stifled by the giant companies in their space. With government backing, there is every chance of these lower companies reaching higher potentials in the future.