Fines are a major part of the punishment and deterrence in China’s enforcement of its Antimonopoly Law. China has been drafting antitrust fining guidelines in the past several years and the current version is believed to be close to final. One natural question is: will the antitrust fining guidelines lead to harsher antitrust fines in China’s future enforcement? We attempt to answer this question by assessing whether fine recipients in China’s historical antitrust investigations would have received higher fines according to the Draft Fining Guidelines. Based on a large number of historical non-merger case decisions issued by China’s antitrust agencies through September 2019, our quantitative analysis shows that higher future fines should be expected in the future. We also explore several factors that might explain why historical fines were below the level predicted by the Draft Fining Guidelines.
Journal of Antitrust Enforcement – Oxford University Press
Published: Dec 3, 2020
Keywords: antitrust enforcement; antitrust fines; antimonopoly law; horizontal agreement; vertical agreement; abuse of dominance; K21, L41, L42