Under the principle of ‘one country, two systems’, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China (‘Hong Kong’) runs on economic and political systems different from those of mainland China. Accordingly, the new competition laws of the People’s Republic of China do not apply to Hong Kong.
Hong Kong does not yet have a generic competition law, but rather has sector-specific competition laws, currently limited to the telecommunications and broadcasting sectors. Only the telecommunications sector is currently subject to a merger control provision, namely section 7P of the Telecommunications Ordinance (Cap. 106) of Hong Kong (‘the Telecommunications Ordinance’).
However, a Competition Bill was gazetted on 2 July 2010 and introduced into the Legislative Council of Hong Kong (LegCo) on 14 July 2010. A Bills Committee is currently scrutinising the Bill and it is scheduled to be enacted during 2012. If enacted into law, the resulting ‘Competition Ordinance’ will be the irst generic cross-sectoral competition law for Hong Kong.
The proposed Competition Ordinance includes a merger control provision. However, the merger control provision will initially be limited only to telecommunications licensees. Moreover, the Competition Ordinance will have a staged application such that the merger control provision is unlikely to become legally enforceable until 2014. Until that time, the Hong Kong merger control regime is limited to the telecommunications-speciic merger provision set out in section 7P of the Telecommunications Ordinance.