We use cookies to deliver our online services. Details of the cookies we use and instructions on how to disable them are set out in our Cookies Policy. By using this website you agree to our use of cookies. To close this message click close.

Antitrust in WeChat times

21 April 2016
This post was contributed by Qing Lyu.

WeChat is a very popular messaging app in China, similar to WhatsApp and Facebook Messaging in other parts of the world. It has social networking, gaming, e-commerce and mobile payment functionalities.  The app plays an increasingly important role in social – and business – interactions in China.  As a result, it is not surprising that WeChat has also acquired relevance in antitrust terms.

According to a press release by the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) – one of China's three antitrust agencies – on April 13, 2016, the participants in a car inspection cartel in Shaanxi Province exchanged information about their price fixing plans in a WeChat group chat, before holding face-to-face cartel meetings.

Separately, in a 2016 article in its official magazine, China Price Supervision and Anti-Monopoly, NDRC confirmed it is using WeChat to collect information on the latest antitrust cases – especially those in foreign jurisdictions – as one of the mechanisms to monitor market developments and – potentially – probably start antitrust investigations.

Among WeChat's various features, the "WeChat official account" essentially works like a blog allowing a company or an individual to post articles. Many law firms, academic institutions and individuals are now running WeChat official accounts, posting own alerts or reports from third-party sources – including several antitrust-related blogs.

In short, WeChat is becoming an important platform for exchange of information, including in relation to antitrust, of which companies should be aware.

 

Loading data