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Hong Kong: Draft Guidelines for Competition Ordinance Issued

(Oct. 31, 2014) Hong Kong’s Competition Commission and Communications Authority jointly issued drafts of six guidelines for public comment. The guidelines, published on October 9, 2014, are proposals developed to go with the Competition Ordinance, passed by the Legislation Council on June 12, 2012. (Draft Guidelines Under the Competition Ordinance – 2014, Competition Commission website (last visited Oct. 27, 2014); Competition Ordinance, Cap 619 (as last updated Mar. 3, 2014), BILINGUAL LAWS INFORMATION SYSTEM (BLIS).)

The Competition Ordinance

The Competition Ordinance prohibits anti-competitive actions and has provisions on how such conduct can be investigated, how the law can be enforced, and how cases are to be adjudicated. (Competition Ordinance – Overview, Competition Commission website (last visited Oct. 27, 2014).) According to the Competition Commission, the draft guidelines specify how the Commission “expects to interpret and give effect to the three competition rules in the Ordinance.” (Press Release, Competition Commission and Communications Authority Publish Draft Guidelines Under the Competition Ordinance (Oct. 9, 2014).) Those three rules prohibit:

  • making or giving effect to agreements or decisions or engaging in concerted practices that have as their object or effect the prevention, restriction or distortion of competition in Hong Kong;
  • for businesses with a substantial degree of market power in a market, engaging in conduct that has as its object or effect the prevention, restriction or distortion of competition in Hong Kong; and
  • completing mergers that have or are likely to have the effect of substantially lessening competition in Hong Kong. The scope of application of the merger rule is limited to carrier licenses issued under the Telecommunications Ordinance. (Competition Ordinance – Overview, supra; Telecommunications Ordinance, Cap 106 (as last updated Aug. 2, 2012), BLIS.)

Draft Guidelines

The guidelines now under development include one each on the three rules in the Competition Ordinance plus guides on complaints, investigations, and applications for decisions. Comments on these six drafts may be submitted, in writing, to either the Competition Commission or the Communications Authority and will be posted on the Commission’s website; any comments with confidential information can be posted in a modified form. Views on the three guidelines concerning complaints, investigations, and applications are due by November 10, 2014, and those on the rules by December 10, 2014. (Competition Ordinance – Overview, supra.)