The Asia-Pacific Antitrust Review 2015

Hong Kong: Procedural Issues

19 February 2015

While administrative delays have meant that the Hong Kong Competition Ordinance (the Ordinance) has yet to be fully implemented, Hong Kong has seen some significant developments on the competition law front in 2014. In particular, Hong Kong now has a competition authority staffed and in place. Furthermore, the new Competition Commission (the Commission) has recently issued its draft Guidelines (the Guidelines), which explain how the Commission will interpret and apply various provisions of the Ordinance. With the consultation period for the Guidelines over as of late 2014, the Commission aims to finish its preparation work by the first half of 2015, which should pave the way for the full implementation of the Ordinance sometime in 2015. With this step, Hong Kong will become one of the final major advanced economies to enact comprehensive competition legislation. Hong Kong has long relished its reputation as ‘the most business-friendly city in the world’, with low personal and corporate tax rates and responsible government spending. Its free market principles espouse that light touch government intervention enables competition, which ultimately leads to more choice and better prices for the consumer. Therefore, the Commission will need to strike a delicate balance between safeguarding the competitive process while not being overly interventionist and over-burdening businesses that have flourished in Hong Kong’s open economy.