根据消息人士说法及招聘广告,中国大型科技业者正强化招聘法务及合规专家,同时为潜在罚款拨备资金;目前中国各主管机关正进行前所未见的反垄断及数据隐私追查行动。

中国当局正加强对科技业者的检视,电子商务巨擘阿里巴巴旗下支付事业蚂蚁集团中止370亿美元首次公开发行(IPO)案之后,监管机构对阿里巴巴展开反垄断调查,这不禁令人感到意外。

此次监管审查结束了一度自由放任的做法。在此之前进行一系列令人瞩目的交易引发了对竞争和消费者数据的担忧。

国家市场监督管理总局对几宗已完成交易处以行政处罚,因这些交易未依法进行反垄断申报。监管机构还在寻求收紧客户数据收集和保护规定。

据消息人士以及路透见到的招聘公告显示,包括阿里巴巴、腾讯控股、美团、百度和字节跳动在内的公司正在物色数十名法务和合规专家。

有些职位招聘是专门针对合规和数据相关领域的。

阿里巴巴网站显示,公司目前正在招聘69名法律和合规专业人士,其中大约有六个职位专项负责竞争、合规和数据隐私方面的工作。

腾讯和美团在官网发布的招聘信息显示,过去两到三个月这两家公司分别拟聘请十几名法律和合规人员。

上月美团在招聘公共政策专家的岗位描述中称,这个职位“负责研究互联网空间的新发展和监管趋势,协助制定战略”。

阿里巴巴的发言人称,该公司定期进行招聘以支持业务发展,并否认新招聘人员是为了因应最近监管方面的变化。

腾讯和字节跳动不予置评,美团和百度暂未回复置评请求。

由于该事情的敏感性,上述消息人士要求匿名

 

Reuters: China tech firms look to bolster legal defence amid regulatory crackdown

China’s big technology firms are stepping up hiring of legal and compliance experts and setting aside funds for potential fines, according to sources and job postings, amid an unprecedented anti-trust and data privacy crackdown by regulators.

Beijing is tightening scrutiny of its tech firms, and in December eyebrows were raised when regulators launched an anti-trust probe into e-commerce giant Alibaba after the halting of the $37 billion IPO of payment affiliate Ant Group.

The regulatory scrutiny, which ended the once laissez-faire approach, comes after a string of high-profile deals in the sector triggered concerns about competition and consumer data.

The State Administration for Market Regulation (SAMR) has imposed fines on some completed deals for failure to apply for anti-trust clearance. Authorities are also seeking stricter customer data collection and protection rules.

Companies including Alibaba, Tencent, Meituan, Baidu and ByteDance are hunting for dozens of legal and compliance professionals, according to the people and a Reuters review of their job postings.

Some of the job postings are specifically for regulation compliance and data related areas.

Alibaba is currently looking to hire 69 legal and compliance professionals, of which about half a dozen are for competition, regulation compliance and data privacy, its website showed.

Tencent and Meituan have also been in the market in the last two to three months to hire about a dozen each for legal and compliance roles in their respective companies, job postings on company websites showed.

Describing a public policy specialist job posted last month, Meituan said the role would be “responsible for studying the new development and regulation trend of the internet space and assist in strategy making”.

An Alibaba spokeswoman said the company routinely recruits to support business developments, and dismissed any suggestions that the hires were in response to the recent regulatory developments.

Tencent and ByteDance declined to comment, while Meituan and Baidu did not respond to a request for comment.

The sources declined to be named due to the sensitivity of the matter.

WIDENING PROBE

In a sign that regulators are now bolstering their punitive muscle to rein in tech companies, online discount retailer Vipshop Holdings was hit with a 3 million yuan ($464,000) fine this week.

The fine came a day after SAMR released new anti-monopoly guidelines targeting internet platforms.

One of the people said each tech company is setting aside a budget of 500,000 yuan ($77,401) per deal in a worst-case scenario of falling foul of regulations - the maximum penalty amount for anti-trust breaches under China’s 2008 anti-monopoly law.

But potential fines could be much bigger - Beijing is set to revise the 12-year-old anti-monopoly law seeking to increase the maximum fine by 100 times or 10% of a company’s annual sales in certain cases, as per draft proposals issued last month.

Two senior Beijing-based anti-trust lawyers said several tech firms are setting aside funds or increasing budget to review and address possible violations of competition rules.

The recent fines on some of the old M&A deals are just the beginning and more such transactions are likely to be reviewed by the regulators, said an executive at a private equity firm, which has invested in Chinese tech companies.

Alibaba, for example, has submitted a list of dozens of old deals to SAMR, as part of a widening regulatory probe in the sector, two other people with direct knowledge of the matter said. The company declined to comment on the submission.

“Any acquisition will be put under amplified lenses now,” said the PE firm executive, adding the anti-trust crackdown has resulted in a few deals being put on hold.