Asia Tipline

Mum’s the word: The Asia-Pacific Tipline for 16 October 2020

GCR ASIA - 15 October 2020

The New York Times published a story this week reporting that Google employees avoid discussing antitrust issues “at all costs”. Company employees have been outspoken about politically charged issues in the past, including potentially building a censored search engine in China to gain access to the world’s most populous market, the Times noted. But employees reportedly steer clear of antitrust and are reminded by the company that Google does not “crush”, “kill”, “hurt”, or “block” competition. Reports like this have surfaced before, but the Times said prospective executives should not even mention the word “antitrust” if they hope to secure a job at Google. The technology giant’s latest issue – a probe in Korea.

We’re all searching for something: The Asia-Pacific Tipline for 9 October 2020

GCR ASIA - 09 October 2020

Google apparently faces more problems in India, with reports of a new antitrust investigation examining its Android dominance in the Smart TV market surfacing this week. China’s competition watchdog is also apparently readying an abuse of dominance investigation into Google after wrapping up a preliminary probe. Meanwhile, the so-called Google of Korea – Naver – has been hit with a major fine by Korea’s competition watchdog for self preferencing search results in the markets for online shopping and video services.

Deal heavy: The Asia-Pacific Tipline for 2 October 2020

GCR ASIA - 01 October 2020

Deals feature heavily in this week’s Asia-Pacific Tipline, with competition authorities across the region clearing several deals, while noteworthy transactions have also been filed with various agencies. The headlines feature stories on a major cartel decision out of Malaysia, a legislative proposal to tackle digital platforms in Korea and more dawn raids by Pakistan’s competition watchdog.

SAMR time: The Asia-Pacific Tipline for 25 September 2020

GCR ASIA - 24 September 2020

Merger reviews in China seem to be taking a little longer than usual. A semiconductor deal just received clearance after the companies in January pushed back the timeframe for closing their tie-up due to scrutiny in China and Taiwan (it passed muster in Taiwan in March). China’s State Administration for Market Regulation also took more than a year to clear a deal involving Russian energy giant Gazprom; and two Taiwanese LED companies have recently pushed back the timing on their deal in light of Chinese scrutiny.

Amazon is smiling: The Asia-Pacific Tipline for 18 September 2020

GCR ASIA - 18 September 2020

Last week, Amazon settled an abuse of superior bargaining investigation in Japan and completely avoided an abuse of dominance claim in India. Elsewhere in the region, the Supreme Court in the Philippines has struck down an anticompetitive regulation, Pakistan’s competition authority has stepped up its scrutiny of the sugar sector and Australia’s antitrust agency has released a report on the coronavirus-hit airline industry.

App battles: The Asia-Pacific Tipline for 11 September 2020

GCR ASIA - 10 September 2020

Google, Apple and a slew of other major technology companies seem to be playing Whac-A-Mole with antitrust investigations throughout the world. Australia’s competition authority is looking at app stores with a focus on Google’s Play Store and the Apple App Store. Reports also surfaced that Japan’s antitrust watchdog is keeping an eye on pending litigation between Apple and game developer Epic Games in the US; while Korea’s top antitrust official reportedly gave a not-so-veiled indication that it is looking at Google’s dominance in the operating system market.

A virtual world: The Asia-Pacific Tipline for 4 September 2020

GCR ASIA - 03 September 2020

Today marks the end of our inaugural GCR Interactive Asia-Pacific competition conference, which replaced our annual event held in Singapore. While the world has changed drastically this year, familiar faces have come together over a two-day conference to discuss key antitrust issues impacting the region. For now, we have coverage of yesterday’s enforcers roundtable, which featured competition officials from eight of the 10 member states in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. Look out in today’s London briefing and next week for more from the conference.

Put through the wash: The Asia-Pacific Tipline for 28 August 2020

GCR ASIA - 27 August 2020

Two of Australia’s largest commercial laundry suppliers seem to have a couple of stains on their merger proposal that they will need to take care of before the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission will clear the deal. We have more on that in our “deals” section, while in Singapore, a merger between two of the world’s largest shipbuilding companies has passed inspection despite the authority finding some competition concerns.

Better late than never: The Asia-Pacific Tipline for 21 August 2020

GCR ASIA - 20 August 2020

After finalising a set of guidelines 18 months ago, China’s competition watchdog has finally published them, but practitioners were quick to praise the agency for providing more clarity and transparency on substantive and procedural issues. The Chinese agency also broke from typical protocol and issued the guidance in a book instead of on its website. We also have coverage of WhatsApp escaping trouble in India, Singapore clearing Alstom/Bombardier and a class action lawsuit against Facebook and Google with potentially eye-popping monetary claims in Australia.

Sailing along: The Asia-Pacific Tipline for 14 August 2020

GCR ASIA - 13 August 2020

Folks may have been eagerly awaiting this week’s final decision out of Australia on Google’s acquisition of Fitbit, especially given the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s stance toward large digital platforms, but they will have to wait until December. The ACCC has decided to push back its review to align with the European Commission, which recently launched a Phase II investigation into the deal and is looking at many of the same issues. We have coverage of that and a decision by Hong Kong’s competition authority to accept behavioural commitments from a shipping alliance.

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