On April 15, the European Union has send a statement of objection to Google, claiming – among other accuses – that Google had distorted internet search results in order to support its own shopping service, thus violating art. 101 TFEU. While this step will certainly bind close attention of both practitioners and legal scholars for quite some years in the Western world, it is of considerable less relevance for the largest national Internet service market in the world– China.
Just as other jurisdiction, the monopolistic mechanisms applied – and recently persecuted – can, anyway, be detected in the Internet Service in China just as well, and in many respects Chinese monopolists would outperform their peers in US or Europe by far. As the Chinese government endeavors to make (and partially also keep already) its Internet industry globally competitive, the antimonopoly authorities kept silent and tolerate on the oligopolistic structure of this market since 2010. Still, in fields where the dominance of some largest companies leads to strikingly obvious repression of competitors, recently also in China those voices became louder which called for a stricter regime of antimonopoly control.
This paper analyses both economically and legally the challenges of defining and prosecuting a monopoly in the Chinese competition law system at the example of Baidu, the largest search engine provider in China, compared with Google, and provides propositions how to effectively apply antimonopoly law and trigger its enforcement in the Internet service under present Chinese law.