In 2013, China’s antimonopoly authority (National Development and Reform Committee, hereinafter referred to as “NDRC”) initiated an antimonopoly investigation on Qualcomm. It was reported that over 80 investigators were mobilized by NDRC on the investigation of Qualcomm, who carried out a dawn raid at Qualcomm’s Beijing Office and Shanghai Office simultaneously. Similarly, just recently (July 28, 2014), the State Administration for Industry and Commerce (“SAIC”), another antimonopoly investigation authority in China unfolded a dawn raid with a team of more than 100 investigators at offices of Microsoft located in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Chengdu simultaneously.
Seen from what happened in the past, the dawn raid of China’s antimonopoly investigation bears the following characteristics:
- The illegal clues contained in the companies’ public information may be located beforehand;
- The enforcement agencies enjoy a relatively broader discretion in respect of investigative power;
- The enforcement agencies can exploit a variety of investigative measures, such as advanced technology in electronic evidence collection, thus the emails of staff and the data saved in the server are all obtained;
- The dawn raid is carried out by many people at several places simultaneously;
- The trend of whistle-blowing from companies of the same trade is increasing.
In the face of urgent risk of antimonopoly investigation, companies shall at least adopt the following measures:
- Conduct a thorough inspection for antimonopoly compliance, and rectify the issues identified during the inspection without delay;
- Formulate antimonopoly compliance manual, so as to ensure the compliance of business operations in the future;
- Formulate an internal guidelines to prevent monopoly risks and respond to the dawn raid of government authorities;
- Conduct an internal exercise in cooperation with the dawn raid of government authorities, so as to ensure the smooth operation of the companies at the maximum degree.
Based on the past experiences, many companies are totally at a loss in response to the dawn raid of government authorities, and they tend to make a lot common-sense mistakes very frequently, which is the result of no pre-arranged planning beforehand, no order during the inspection and no sum-up after that. The lessons of those companies are too profound to repeat. Therefore, it is of the greatest urgency for companies to effectively implement the measures above.