The announcement also stated, “We will take this investigation as an opportunity to conduct in-depth self-examination, comprehensive self-examination, thorough rectification, operation in compliance with laws and regulations, innovative development models, and assume the social responsibility of China’s knowledge infrastructure.”
What did CNKI do?
At the same time when the news of CNKI’s investigation was disclosed, Shi Jianzhong, a member of the Expert Advisory Group of the Anti-Monopoly Committee of the State Council and a professor at China University of Political Science and Law, published a signed article in Guangming Daily, interpreting the CNKI case.
Shi Jianzhong said that the investigation into CNKI is an important measure taken by China’s anti-monopoly law enforcement agencies to actively respond to social concerns and implement normalized supervision of the platform economy in accordance with the law. It is of great significance to flow, to promote innovation and development, and to protect the interests of consumers and the public interests of authors and readers.
According to the Anti-monopoly Law, there are mainly three types of monopolistic behaviors, namely, business operators reaching monopoly agreements, business operators abusing their dominant market position, and business operators concentration that has or may have the effect of eliminating or restricting competition.
So, what kind of monopolistic behavior is involved in HowNet?
Shi Jianzhong pointed out that it is understood that CNKI has been in a leading position for a long time in the type and quantity of Chinese academic literature, the number of journals, the quantity and quality of exclusive journals, the scale and coverage of users, the degree of user dependence, and market sales. , set unfair format clauses in academic literature collection and service agreements, and the price of purchasing academic literature or selling knowledge digitized products is hardly constrained by competition. According to the analysis, it can be basically determined that CNKI has a dominant market position.
Shi Jianzhong also stated that CNKI has signed exclusive agreements with a large number of journals and universities, restricting their cooperation with other third-party academic literature database service platforms, locking in upstream high-quality academic resources, artificially creating knowledge flow barriers, and making other competition. It is difficult for players to compete fairly with them, which affects the sharing and dissemination of knowledge. At the same time, CNKI obtained super-high profits by collecting at low prices and selling at high prices. In the absence of justifiable reasons, the price of databases has been greatly increased for many years, which has increased the burden on users and harmed the interests of consumers. The above-mentioned behavior of CNKI undermines the fair competition order in the relevant market, hinders the dissemination of academic literature and knowledge sharing, and damages the ecological environment of knowledge innovation.
Wang Xianlin, a member of the Expert Advisory Group of the Anti-Monopoly Committee of the State Council and a distinguished professor at Shanghai Jiao Tong University, pointed out to the Finance E Law, “It is certain that CNKI is suspected of abusing its dominant market position regulated by the Anti-Monopoly Law.” He further explained that CNKI is likely to be suspected of implementing monopolistic high prices (unfairly asking prices or overpricing), and may also be suspected of imposing unreasonable trading conditions and refusing to trade.
In the opinion of Sun Jin, a professor at the Law School of Wuhan University, “HowNet’s unfairly high prices are the manifestation of monopoly behavior with the highest consensus, including unreasonable price increases for units and unreasonable charges for readers to download articles.”
What is the significance of the HowNet case?
CNKI’s investigation is the first publicly filed anti-monopoly case in the platform economy field in 2022, and also the first publicly filed anti-monopoly case in the platform economy field after the establishment of the State Anti-Monopoly Bureau. How to evaluate the impact and significance of the case? What signal does it send to regulate the platform economy?
Shi Jianzhong pointed out that CNKI is a typical platform enterprise, and the investigation into it is to thoroughly implement the specific measures of the Party Central Committee on the implementation of normalized supervision, which is conducive to releasing a clear and clear signal to the market, so that the market can establish a more reliable and reliable way of establishing the rule of law. Stable and continuous expectations, enhance the self-compliance awareness of platform enterprises, guide and motivate platform enterprises to carry out high-level competition through technological innovation and model innovation, and continuously improve their core competitiveness. Through the implementation of normalized anti-monopoly supervision, we will continue to purify the competitive environment in the platform economy, optimize the innovation mechanism, ensure the healthy and high-quality development of the platform economy, and give better play to the platform economy’s role in promoting technological innovation, prospering the economy, facilitating people’s lives, Active role in participating in international competition.
Wang Xianlin said that although 2021 is called the “big year” of China’s anti-monopoly, from the perspective of CNKI’s investigation, it is more appropriate to call 2021 the “first year” of strengthening anti-monopoly, which means that the future will continue and Antitrust on a regular basis. In the future, China will adhere to the principle of paying equal attention to both regulation and development, and continue to strengthen anti-monopoly to promote high-quality development through fair competition. Anti-monopoly supervision in the platform economy will also enter a stage of normalization, precision and predictability.
To regulate the healthy development of the academic literature database industry, Wang Xianlin believes that the current anti-monopoly enforcement is undoubtedly necessary and timely, but in the long run, other efforts are needed.
Wang Xianlin specifically pointed out that CNKI, as an important national knowledge infrastructure, has public welfare functions such as promoting academic dissemination and exchange, and promoting national scientific and technological innovation. Therefore, it can be considered in terms of policies and laws to provide public obligations such as universal and equal services, so that more The public can easily, equally and universally use the national knowledge infrastructure, which of course requires the provision of corresponding resource guarantees. At the same time, CNKI should implement necessary and reasonable industry regulatory measures, such as including the corresponding charges into the national pricing or the national guide price catalog.