China: Conglomerate mergers are facing heightened scrutiny

For the past three years (2017–2020), it appears that conglomerate mergers were under more scrutiny in China than in the European Union (“EU”) or the United States (“U.S.”). This article mainly examines five mergers—namely, HP/Samsung, Essilor/Luxottica, KLA/Orbotech, Infineon/Cypress and Nvidia/Mellanox—which were conditionally approved in China but were cleared without any remedies in the EU or the U.S. Specifically, the article reviews the factors the Chinese antitrust regulators examined in the conglomerate mergers, opine on the rationale behind the Chinese antitrust regulators drawing different conclusions in these mergers, and summarizes conditional remedies imposed by the Chinese antitrust regulators. The authors also consider the Chinese regulators’ concerns and any potential impact on global mergers, and anticipate conglomerate mergers, especially those involving digital technology, which are likely to be under rigorous scrutiny by Chinese regulators in the future.

I. “Conglomerate mergers” in the context of Chinese merger control review 1. The PRC Anti-monopoly Law does not clearly define conglomerate mergers. However, according to the notification form for merger control review in China, the neighboring market refers to the market constituted by a group of products, which are complementary, or have the same user group and the same end use. [1] Based on our understanding of the Chinese antitrust framework and regulatory agency’s practice as demonstrated in previous cases, conglomerate mergers involve companies whose products can either be one of the following: Complements, meaning that the products may be used together (or must be used together in some cases). For example, printers and cartridges are two products that must be used together; or

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  • King & Wood Mallesons (Beijing)
  • King & Wood Mallesons (Beijing)
  • King & Wood Mallesons (Beijing)


Cheng Liu, Audrey Yumeng Li, Nick Torres, China: Conglomerate mergers are facing heightened scrutiny , November 2020, Concurrences N° 4-2020, Art. N° 97012,

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