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Antitrust in Asia 2021

Antitrust in Asia 2021

Key developments and future trends

For international businesses, Asia has become a key focal point in global competition law enforcement over the last decade, making deal planning and corporate compliance significantly more challenging.

Keeping on top of developments adds to the complexity. Since our previous publication in 2018, there has been no let-up in the pace of change in the region. Key highlights include:

  • China’s antitrust organisational reform, which led to the establishment of the State Administration of Market Regulation, and has contributed to the noticeable uptick in enforcement and legislative output;
  • the entry into force of Vietnam’s 2018 competition law together with an expected uptick in enforcement activity; 
  • Japan’s amendments to its antitrust legislation to increase the effectiveness of its leniency programme;
  • a new competition law in Thailand, which came into effect in October 2017, and the authority’s landmark first conditional clearance decision in relation to the CP/Tesco merger in late 2020;
  • the Grab/Uber merger, which attracted regulatory scrutiny from a number of ASEAN regulators; and
  • a number of enforcement milestones in Hong Kong, including the first two sets of commitments being accepted, the issuance of the Competition Commission's first infringement notice and proceedings in the first case on abuse of substantial market power.

There have been various other developments through legislative amendments, guidance from competition regulators and litigation precedents.

To capture this ever-evolving landscape in one of the world’s most economically dynamic regions, we have prepared the following three interactive ‘at-a-glance’ tables covering 19 key Asian jurisdictions:

We will publish updates to these tables and report on further key developments in Asia as and when required. Please also visit our Asia Essential Antitrust podcasts for on-the-ground views of local antitrust experts.

Alongside our own competition law practices in China, Hong Kong, Japan and Vietnam, we are grateful to our StrongerTogether partners in Asia who work with us regularly and have contributed to this publication.