Fighting Internet Monopolies in China and the U.S.A.

DOI: 10.20542/0131-2227-2022-66-10-73-80
Primakov National Research Institute of World Economy and International Relations, Russian Academy of Sciences, 23, Profsoyuznaya Str., Moscow, 117997, Russian Federation.

Received 29.06.2022. Revised 27.07.2022. Accepted 08.08.2022.

Abstract. Since 2010s growth of the biggest Internet corporations (Big Tech) formed new monopolization challenges, from takeovers of competing start-ups to anti-competitive practices. Initially, regulators were not active, considering complexity of antitrust policies for the high-tech sector (e.g., not to demotivate R&D investments) and specifics of Internet markets (network effects, etc.). But since 2020 situation changed dramatically. Despite the active EU’s role in developing model digital norms, special attention should be paid to the U.S.A. and China (as countries of origin of Big Tech and key Internet markets). In both economies, regulators previously executed a non-restrictive approach to the Internet markets and Big Tech, also as factor supporting their development and global leadership. But rising challenges and political events triggered new antitrust attack. For the PRC it was Jack Ma’s speech amid rising concerns of the CPC leaders about income asymmetries. In the U.S.A. it was Trumpists’ war on the “liberal media” and changes in long-term “alliance” between Democrats and Big Tech. Since 2020 China started antitrust investigations against Big Tech and other Internet corporations, imposed fines, and developed new regulations. In the U.S.A., due to the specifics of the legal and political system, focus was made on forming political and legal basis for further regulatory actions. Several lawsuits were initiated, critics of Internet monopolies were assigned on key positions in federal antitrust bodies, while Congress elaborated draft acts. Theoretical analysis shows that in both nations focus was made on the sharpest (for society and politicians) changes. New initiatives do not pose a threat to Big Tech’s innovation activities yet. Less obvious is their correspondence to the digital economy specifics. So, it is still hard to understand whether these actions will lead to rise of innovations and competition. Long-term systematic development of regulation is needed – as well as serious theoretical research on “digital antitrust”.

Keywords: internet markets, Big Tech, antitrust policy, innovations, USA, China


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For citation:
Danilin I. Fighting Internet Monopolies in China and the U.S.A.. World Eonomy and International Relations, 2022, vol. 66, no. 10, pp. 73-80.

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