Clifford Chance on China's Anti-Monopoly Law

by Emma Davies, Ninette Dodoo and Jiajia Gao

In just one year, China's new Anti-Monopoly Law (AML) has been scrutinised, analysed and criticised. In parallel, the fortunes of China's companies in international transactions have made headlines around the world. At home and abroad, the learning curve has been steep for all involved. Competition lessons learned by both international investors into China and by Chinese companies investing overseas are worth reasoned analysis twelve months on.

The authors write: The AML came into effect on 1 August 2008, eight days before the triumphant start of the Beijing Olympics, and six weeks before the global banking system entered a period of crisis that reshaped the world's economies overnight.

It was the latest addition to the 40-year proliferation of competition/antitrust laws. In 1960, only five countries had competition regimes; today, there are over 100 separate merger control regimes, each with differing thresholds, filing requirements and procedures. Each of these regimes reviews transactions that affect market activity within its borders, regardless of the location of the parent companies involved.

Despite this swarm of legislation, however, most notified transactions are cleared. The global average shows that around 80% of cases are cleared very quickly and without conditions; a further 15% are cleared after further questions, and usually within 30 days. Only around 5% of cases filed require complex review, and of those, less than half are blocked or cleared with substantial conditions.

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Emma Davies, Partner, Clifford Chance, China

Extensive experience in mergers and acquisitions, private equity and venture investments, joint ventures, corporate restructurings, as well as general corporate and business advice. For over fourteen years, Emma has practised while residing in London, Hong Kong and now in Shanghai.

Advised on a wide range of share and asset acquisitions and joint venture, restructuring and corporate matters. Emma's China sector experience covers logistics, chemicals, distribution, financial services, real estate, pharmaceuticals and telecommunications. Emma speaks English and Mandarin.

Ninette Dodoo, Counsel, Clifford Chance, China

Jiajia Gao, Associate, Clifford Chance, China