China Is Becoming a member of the International Push to Rein In Tech Giants

Beijing is stepping up efforts in Brussels and Washington to curb the power of big tech companies.

China recently joined the chorus of governments advancing plans to impose new competitive obligations on a small cadre of large tech companies, including Inc., Facebook Inc. and Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.

In November, China unveiled its first draft directive monitoring the competitive behavior of digital giants. Proposals include preventing companies from processing consumer data to set discriminatory prices or selling products at prices below cost in order to gain market share. This month, controls on electronic payments companies were tightened, warning that if non-bank payment companies were found to dominate the market, they could face antitrust investigations.

China’s moves come as the European Union and Britain make similar efforts. In December, an EU bill was proposed to oblige large digital platforms to refrain from many potentially anti-competitive measures, such as promoting their own products to those of their competitors. The UK is planning legislation that will enable a new digital competition entity to enforce codes of conduct for companies dominating strategic digital markets.

The proposals are being driven by a growing number of policymakers, competition specialists and smaller technology competitors in Europe, Asia and the US who believe new laws are needed to ensure that new technology competitors can emerge to challenge the digital giants.

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