About Anti-Competition & Anti-Monopoly Course
June 23, 2021
Rick Foristel, Director of Webster University China
A couple of weeks after the last class of our Anti-Competition & Anti-Monopoly course, I talked to the instructor, Dr. Tim Klatte, about the class’s importance during the 2021 Fall 2 Semester. He recounted early in the class that Alibaba had been reprimanded by China's SAMR (State Administration for Market Supervision) for being anti-competitive.
“The official announcement of the penalty came at 9am on Saturday, April 10th – just 30 minutes after the class started. Students were scrambling on their phones, whispering at the landmark fine, and at that time, I knew I had to change the lesson plan and talk about this in real-time with everyone – SAMR had just announced a US$2.8 billion fine against Alibaba for its anti-competitive practices,” Dr. Klatte said, continuing – “SAMR has developed a clear approach to combatting monopolistic behavior, and the US$2.8 Billion enforcement against Alibaba in April is a shot across the bow that it’s not only not tolerated but will be dealt with expediently.”
Dr. Klatte points out that the U.S. Congress created the original Sherman Anti-trust Act in 1890 to promote competition & protect consumers, assuring that the consumers get high quality and reasonable prices with options. When more makers and sellers enter the market, consumers benefit from choice and innovative products and services. Since the Sherman Act was introduced, other iterations have matured the anti-monopoly law, such as the Clayton Act and the Federal Trade Commission.
In China, SAMR has warned other highly successful companies in the tech area of Beijing, including Tencent and housing platforms Lianjia and Beike. Tencent developed itself from communications roots, that is, social media and gaming, but it looks like Berkshire Hathaway, but focused on e-commerce applications.
China's giant e-commerce market could not operate without packers, pickers, and delivery drivers. Different sources estimate there are between 4-6 million people are just delivering. Most of these workers leave rural areas of China to deliver packages and food in the large cities. Alibaba and Tencent-invested companies own nearly 100% of the delivery market. Drivers are paid poorly, live in marginal housing, have no health insurance, and are badgered to deliver more quickly.
Anti-competition comes into play when there are few choices available to workers to find better conditions. Bad conditions are another form of monopoly.
Again from Dr. Klatte. "Our iMBA students, having a deep appreciation of anti-monopoly history, knowing the significant events, and understanding the logic behind the decisions allow them to apply and discuss the impact on today's market in China intelligently. BUSN5680 provides a structured and easy-to-understand approach to an often-complicated topic. Using case studies, such as the Microsoft Anti-Trust case, with real-time news in China is a well-rounded approach.”
Dr. Tim Klatte, Webster Ajunct Professor, Partner and Head of Forensic Advisory Services of Grant Thornton Shanghai
From the Sherman Act in 1890 until today, the focus on Anti-Monopoly enforcements has increased globally, even reaching the shores of China during the past 2-3 decades. The last 130 years has witnessed anti-trust activity across all industries and geographies.
In China, SAMR (State Administration for Market Supervision) has developed a clear approach to combatting monopolistic behavior, and the US$2.8 Billion enforcement against Alibaba in April is a shot across the bow that it's not only not tolerated but will be dealt with expediently.
For the iMBA students, having a deep appreciation of anti-monopoly history, knowing the significant events, and understanding the logic behind the decisions allow them to apply and discuss intelligently the impact on today’s market in China. BUSN5680 provides a structured and easy-to-understand approach an often complicated topic. Using case studies, such as the Microsoft Anti-Trust case, with real-time news in China is a well-rounded approach.
iMBA students' feedbacks
梁明 2019年级iMBA学员 辉瑞亚洲制药有限公司 高级人力资源经理
很有幸在今年的选修课中学习了Tim Klatte教授讲授的反垄断课程，这次已经是第二次跟随Tim 教授学习了。在2019年，曾跟随Tim教授学习过全球化课程。Tim 教授的授课特点是治学严谨，教案准备相当充分，课堂知识点讲解精辟，知识理解和案例分析穿插，课堂讨论和小组合作分享相结合。课程从反垄断的历史起源出发，将政府立法、管控和时事相融合，延伸到企业并购、知识产权保护、合规和反腐败，形成立体的知识体系。近年来，国家反垄断大戏不断上演，群众们看得好不热闹。在这样的历史背景下，学习反垄断课程很有裨益，使我们对当前的反垄断案件有了深入的认识和理解，也让我们不断反思企业经营和管理。
曾啸虎 2019年级iMBA学员 辉瑞亚洲制药有限公司纽迪希亚（无锡）制药有限公司 品类采购经理
徐浩然，Rittal China 区域经理