China's top commerce watchdog has pledged to step up its efforts to tackle anti-competitive practices as a three-month nationwide campaign gets underway.

The State Administration for Industry and Commerce said in a notice released on its website on Wednesday that market supervision authorities nationwide will investigate anti-competitive activities from Thursday until the end of November.

"Currently, commercial bribery, sabotage of competitors, fraud, counterfeiting and other anti-competitive acts are rampant, angering the public," the administration said in the notice.

It urged local authorities to punish offenders and take effective measures to protect the rights of consumers and law-abiding businesses.

Sectors of the most concern to the public, such as medicine, medical services and education, will be the main targets in investigations into commercial bribery.

The authorities must strengthen their supervision of the bidding process in these sectors and work out solutions to close loopholes that encourage bribery, it said.

Those who monopolize a particular industry and compromise the interests of competitors and consumers will also be punished.

Real estate brokerages, car dealerships, employment agencies and franchises have been the sectors with seriously misleading or deceptive marketing practices, the administration said.

Illegal practices must be eliminated, it said.

In addition, many Chinese companies have been shown to deliberately use trademarks or designs that closely resemble those of well-known brands. This hurts company initiative, threatens fair competition and disrupts market order, and it must be curbed, the notice said.

Commerce authorities are urged to close businesses that produce imitations and infringe on intellectual property rights, and to ensure that piracy will not return after the campaign.  

Source: China Daily