This is the tenth anniversary of Chinese antitrust enforcement, which began on August 1, 2008, when the Antimonopoly Law of People’s Republic of China (“AML”) became effective. During these 10 years, the Chinese antitrust agencies have conducted many high-profile enforcement actions. Given that most targets of antitrust investigations are major corporations, the discovery process is generally more complex than for other general administrative investigations. Dawn raids are becoming more and more prevalent in antitrust investigations. Therefore, it is important forforeign companies present in China to understand PRC antitrust law and dawn raid practices.
This article will provide an overview of China antitrust enforcement and dawn raids over the past 10 years and will discuss the main characteristics of China’s antitrust dawn raids, including the origins, processes followed, authority, raid strategies, and possible penalties. The article identifies “best practices” for dealing with dawn raids and provides guidance for obtaining leniency. We expect that these best practices and guidance will be directly relevant to investigations by the State Administration for Market Regulation (“SAMR”), the establishment of which is discussed at the end of this article.