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Foreign firms 'must follow Chinese law'

2014-09-11 10:59 China Daily Web Editor: Qin Dexing

Antitrust probes are not targeted at any particular company, senior official says

All foreign Internet businesses in China must follow the bottom line of safeguarding China's interests and the interests of its consumers, a senior official said on Wednesday.

The government's recent intensive antitrust investigations were conducted following Chinese laws and never purposefully targeted any enterprises, Lu Wei, minister of the Office of the CPC Central Leading Group for Cyberspace Affairs, told a panel during the World Economic Forum in Tianjin. The forum opened on Wednesday and runs until Friday.

"China's governance of the Internet follows the 'bottom line' approach, and all foreign Internet enterprises in China must follow the 'bottom line' of abiding by Chinese laws. There are two points. The first point is safeguarding the interests of China, which is very clear. The second point is safeguarding the interests of Chinese consumers, which is also very clear. Foreign investors, if they follow the two points, will be OK and welcome," Lu said.

"We will never allow those enterprises that profit from seizing the Chinese market while hurting China, such as the country's interests, safety and the interests of Chinese consumers," he said.

The Chinese government recently opened antitrust investigations that have involved technology giants including Qualcomm Inc and Microsoft Corp.

Anne Bouverot, director general of the GSM Association, an industry body representing mobile telecoms companies, said that every government will want companies in its country to follow the laws of the country and protect consumers' interests.

Lawrence Strickling, assistant secretary for communications and information at the United States Department of Commerce, said that China's "bottom line" of governing Internet enterprises is "right".

"He (Lu Wei) is correct. If you want to do business somewhere, you have to follow the law. ... His position is clear and I respect it," Strickling said.

Regarding the antitrust probes, Strickling said: "We don't know where this is leading. Let's watch the process. If China does not follow the rule of law, China will be hurt. If China follows the rule of law, then everyone should respect China".

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