By Susan Ning and Liu Jia

Most recently,a piece of news related to the Anti-Monopoly Law ("AML")indicates that, the National Development and Reform Commission("NDRC")who is in charge of the implementation of the Price Law and price-related antitrust violation, communicated with the State Administration of Radio, Film, and Television("SARFT")1, for SARFT’s proposed draft of Guidance on Further Regulation of Movie Ticket Business("draft Guidance").It is reported that SARFT is suspected of abusing its administrative power for fixing the price of movie tickets.
 

Fact
 

On 26 February 2012, the draft Guidance was posted on the internet by a micro-blogger. According to the draft Guidance, SARFT divides the sales market of movie tickets into several districts, and sets the guided price (i.e.highest retail price) of movie tickets for each of the district.  It also provides that the movie tickets for theater members and group buyers should not be sold for less than 70% of the listed price.

Continue Reading Does SARFT Have the Authority to Regulate Movie Ticket Price?

By: Susan Ning, Angie Ng and Shan Lining

Last week (between 26 to 27 May 2011), it was reported in the press that Unilever has raised the prices of specific products (including Lux and Hazeline branded shampoos and shower gels) by 10% in some cities including Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou (Unilever’s price increases).  This was touted as a surprising move given that Unilever was recently fined by the price authority, the National Development Reform Commission (NDRC) in relation to conduct to do with its proposed price increases just earlier in the month (see below for more details to do with this fine) (Unilever’s price signaling conduct).

This article outlines details to do with Unilever’s price signaling conduct and subsequent price increases and examines whether or to what extent such conduct would be considered in breach of the Price Law and the Anti-Monopoly Law in China.

Continue Reading Price signaling and price hikes – a breach of the Price Law or Anti-Monopoly Law?

By: Susan Ning, Shan Lining and Angie Ng

On 6 May 2011, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) announced that a manufacturer of household and personal care products (the Manufacturer) has been fined a total of RMB2 million for breaching the Price Law.  The NDRC also appeared to have made some Anti-Monopoly Law (AML) references in relation to this case.

Continue Reading Price hikes and price signaling

By Susan Ning, Shan Lining and Angie Ng

The radiation leaks in Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant (caused by the earthquake-tsunami in Japan on 11 March) has made consumers in China paranoid about the salt they will consume in the near future.  Once news of the leak in the nuclear plant broke, there was a mad "scramble" to purchase table salt – as Chinese consumers were concerned that in the near future, the sea water around China would be contaminated as a result of the radiation leakage.  According to press reports, around the same time, some table salt retailers proceeded to raise the retail prices of iodized table salt.

The Chinese Government controls prices in relation to table salt.  Specifically, the ex-works and wholesale prices of table salt are set by the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC, the central price authority); in addition provincial price authorities also control to some extent, the retail prices of salt.  In some provinces, provincial price authorities set maximum retail prices – this means that table salt retailers are not to charge above a price set by these authorities.

Continue Reading Salt Price Hikes Curbed by the Price Law

By: Susan Ning, Shan Lining and Angie Ng

On 17 November 2010, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) organized a "price monopoly" workshop in Chengdu to take stock of: (a) developments in relation to price related breaches of the Anti-Monopoly Law (AML); and (b) developments in relation to provincial level price authorities and their enforcement of the AML (see our article entitled "Provincial Price Authorities and the AML" dated 20 November 2010.[1]

Continue Reading Price Related Breaches of the AML and the Price Law – How Many Public Cases Have There Been?

By: Susan Ning, Shan Lining, Liu Jia and Angie Ng

On 10 December 2010, the State Council published and enacted a set of revised penalty regulations[1] (vis-à-vis the Price Law 1997). 

Broadly, the penalties set out in these revised penalty regulations are more severe than the previous version. 

Of note is the fact that there is a new Article 5 which outlines more severe and specific remedies in relation to breaches amounting to price-fixing. In addition, the new Article 19 introduces criminal sanctions for breaches of the Price Law 1997 which severely disrupt the market order in China.

Continue Reading If You Fix Prices, Beware of the Price Law and the Anti Monopoly Law