Welcome to Our Yearend Antitrust Practice Review
Standing at the beginning point of the new year, we take the opportunity to deliberate and reflect on the last twelve months. 2022 has been an extremely busy and productive year for AnJie Broad Antitrust Team. Together, we have accomplished several milestones and have much to be proud of. Whilst against a challenging macro-economic and geopolitical backdrop, we are pleased to highlight the significant accomplishments and encouraging momentums the team has achieved.
In 2022, China’s antitrust authority SAMR has conditionally approved 5 deals in total; they are Siltronic/GWC, Xilinx/AMD, Coherent/II-IV, Avinex/Eastern Air Logistics and Asiana/Korean Air. Among these 5 cases, the team had deep participation in 4 of them. In Siltronic/GWC and Asiana/Korean Air, the team, as the filing party’s counsel, successfully secured clearance from SAMR for the clients.
Antitrust Private Litigation
With the revised Anti-Monopoly Law (2022) specifically advocating the enhancement of antitrust judicial practice, the team also observed the increasing number of antitrust private actions being lodged before Chinese courts. In 2022, the team represented the parties in 16 antitrust private litigations. Among them, 2 have been closed with the second instance judgment being handed down within the year; 14 cases are still pending, in which 6 were appealed to the Supreme People’s Court and 8 are still under the first instance trial. As to the cause of action, abuse of market dominance accounts for the majority in cases the team handled in 2022, 14 out of 16; and the remaining 2 were related to horizontal monopoly agreements. Echoing the global enforcement trend against digital economy, 4 cases the team represented in the year were against Chinese internet giants. Notably, the case Huaming v. Taipu (Docket No.:(2021) Zui Gao Fa Zhi Min Zhong No.1298) was selected as Top Ten Typical Antitrust Cases by the Supreme People’s Court. Generally speaking, PRC courts handle around 40 antitrust private litigation annually. In 2022, the antitrust litigations handled by the team involve the intermediate people’s courts and high people’s courts in Beijing, Shanghai, Harbin, Huhhot, Changchun, Yinchuan, Ningbo and Wuhan, as well as the Supreme People’s Court. The team has also been assisting a domestic company with responding to an US antitrust class action in 2022.
We have been continuously and diligently assisting clients with responding to the antitrust authority in 6 antitrust investigations in 2022, 4 of which were commenced before 2022. Among them, 3 investigations were against horizontal monopoly agreements, 1 against abuse of dominant market position, and 1 against price resale maintenance (RPM). The cases that the team defended in the year extended to automobile, public utility, construction, electronics and manufacturing. One investigation was initiated after the revised Anti-Monopoly Law entered into force, thereby several novel and challenging issues were touched for the first time, such as application of new law or old law, how to apply the “rule of reason” in RPM pursuant to the new law, and how to apply the “safe harbor” before supplementary rules are released.
In 2022, the team has been actively contributing to support the antitrust authority’s work. Specifically, in the Calcium gluconate case, the ever first antitrust administrative litigation solely against SAMR up to date, the team represented SAMR before Beijing Higher People’s Court in the first instance trial. In several investigation initiated by a provincial antitrust regulator, the team provided comprehensive legal advice. The team’s partner Dr. Zhan Hao was engaged by Beijing AMR and Shandong AMR as the antitrust expert of their pools; another partner of the team Ms. Song Ying was also engaged by Beijing AMR as the supporting antitrust expert.
As China has been actively advocating the competition compliance, strengthening the approach of pre-regulation, we observed that a growing number of businesses attached more importance to the establishment and improvement of its competition compliance system. In the year, the team spared no effort to back companies in conducting the competition compliance due diligence review, drafting competition compliance manuals, implanting compliance requirements into the business workflow, devising compliance toolkits, conducting mock dawn raids, delivering competition compliance trainings and providing other compliance assistance. The team’s competition compliance work in the year covered diverse sectors, to name a few, e-commence, consumer goods, new energy, oil & gas, food, pharmaceuticals, insurance, automobile, aviation, public utility and etc.
In 2022, the team continues to be industrious in contributing to various Chinese and global publications in the competition law field, with the intention to spread and share the practical experience and observations as much as possible. For instance, we were invited to contribute the China Chapter of Dominance and Monopolies, Legal 500 Comparative Guide on Competition Litigation, Lexology GTDT Market Intelligence Merger Control, Global Legal Insights: Merger Control and Global Legal Insights: Cartel. The team also delivered its comprehensive analytical articles on the Amended Anti-Monopoly Law and the draft Antitrust Judicial Interpretations for consultation, in the first hours after they were released. For years, the team has been operating an academic and professional e-publication platform through a WeChat Official Account (see the QR code below), through which to release the freshest competition law news, enforcement decisions, judicial judgements or academic and practitioner articles on a daily basis. By the end of 2022, this platform has around 8000 followers in total.
Awards and Accolades
Leading organizations in China and abroad continued to widely recognize the team in Antitrust/Competition field in 2022, which include but not limited to the following: Chambers & Partners and LegalBand rated the team’s partner Dr. Zhan Hao as “Band one PRC Antitrust/Competition Lawyer”. Who’s Who Legal and LegalBand awarded Dr. Zhan as “leading PRC antitrust lawyer”. China Intellectual Property Forum rated Dr. Zhan as “Top 10 Renowned Antitrust Lawyer”. Another partner of the team Ms. Song Ying was also recommended as the leading PRC antitrust lawyer by Chambers& Partners, Who’s Who Legal and LegalBand in 2022. Other partners have also won multiple awards. In the 2022 list of Global Recommended Firms and Lawyers in Competition Law published by Global Competition Review (GCR), the firm once again was recognized as a “Highly Recommended Law Firm.” Notably, Dr. Zhan was honored by ICC Competition Commission as the “China ambassador” to bridge the competition law communication and exchange between China and the world. In 2022, Beijing Digital Economy and Digital Governance Rule of Law Research Association was set up. Because of our forward-looking research on antitrust in the digital economy, Dr. Zhan Hao was elected as the Vice President.
Together we continued to focus on the work of creating meaningful value to our clients and the whole competition law society in 2022. We are proud of our valued team members and hope each of them takes a moment to reflect on what we’ve accomplished – without their hard work, none of it would be possible. We would be remiss if we didn’t recognize our partners in other countries as well. Our close collaboration with our counterparts in other jurisdictions such as the US, EU, South Korea, Japan, UK and Canada, allows us to provide full-fledged high-quality service to our clients operating globally. We would also like to extend this opportunity to thank our clients, antitrust regulators, judges, scholars and lawyer fellows in the competition law field. Working with each of you bestows us the opportunity to learn more and become better. Looking ahead to 2023, AnJie Broad Antitrust Team will continue to dedicate to providing the first-tire antitrust legal services to our clients, and we will bear the persistent commitment of sharing and spreading our practical experience and contributing to the whole competition community. As always, thank you for your always support and look forward to seeing you again in the promising 2023.