After years of debate, Hong Kong’s new competition law, the Competition Ordinance (CO), took effect in December 2015. Laying out rules to support competitive markets and creating the institutions to administer and enforce those rules, the CO is a modern competition law in many respects, following many best-practices and respecting recent learning in competition economics. This article argues, however, that—at least from an economist’s perspective—in its drafting a series of decisions were made that weaken the law. None is that unusual or critical on its own, however collectively they leave the law less powerful than competition enthusiasts might desire in a modern market economy. We discuss the implications of these decisions and go on to consider some other more unique aspects of the law that might need reconsideration at some point. Finally, we document and discuss the early activities of the Competition Commission of Hong Kong. We conclude that Hong Kong is off to a good start with its new law and its enforcement but that several reforms have the potential to bring a more robust competition policy regime.
Friday, September 25, 2020