The Year of the Rat: a great start for business in China

If you are doing business in China, the recent introduction of anti-monopoly and labour laws may affect your business. And if you have been considering protecting your intellectual property in China, there is no better time to do something about it.

China’s Anti-Monopoly Law (AML) was adopted late last year. The AML is based around three pillars: agreements that restrain trade, misuse of market power and merger control. There are some key differences between Australian competition law and the AML, but the most significant may be its role in breaking down the current central government stronghold, creating opportunities for business in China.

Employment laws were passed in China early this year. For businesses that have engaged Chinese suppliers or own businesses in China that employ workers, these laws will only have an impact where workers have previously been exploited. The new laws provide very basic standards like paying workers and deeming minimum contract terms where none are in place. Non-compliant businesses face the risk of strikes or penalties.

As the Olympic spotlight draws closer, China appears to be taking IP protection more seriously than ever before. Over 700,000 trade marks were applied for in China last year. With China’s internal focus upon quantity when it comes to patents (including designs) and trade marks, businesses that wish to protect their IP in China would be wise to develop a strategic medium-long term plan.

Aitken Partners clients have the benefits of our MSI Global Alliance partners in China and Hong Kong.