“We will take this survey as an opportunity to conduct a profound self-examination, conduct a comprehensive self-examination, thoroughly rectify and reform, operate in accordance with the law, innovate the development model, and assume social responsibility for China’s knowledge infrastructure,” the notice said.
What has been done by Zhi.com?
At the same time as the news that Zhi.com had been placed on file for investigation was disclosed, Shi Jianzhong, a member of the expert advisory group of the Anti-monopoly Commission of the State Council and a professor of China University of political Science and Law, published a signed article in Guangming Daily to interpret the case.
Shi Jianzhong said that the filing and investigation of Zhi.com is an important measure for China’s anti-monopoly law enforcement agencies to actively respond to social concerns and regulate the platform economy in accordance with the law. it is of great significance to maintain fair competition in the academic literature database service market, promote knowledge production and flow, promote innovation and development, and protect consumer interests and social and public interests with authors and readers as the main body.
According to the provisions of the anti-monopoly law, there are mainly three kinds of monopoly behavior, namely, operators reaching monopoly agreements, operators abusing their dominant position in the market, and concentration of operators that have or may have the effect of excluding or restricting competition.
So, what kind of monopoly behavior is involved in the knowledge net?
Shi Jianzhong pointed out that it is understood that the types 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 are obviously in the leading position for a long time. Set unfair format terms in academic literature collection and service agreements The price of purchasing academic literature or selling knowledge digital products is hardly restricted by competition. According to the analysis, it can be concluded that the knowledge net has a dominant position in the market.
Shi Jianzhong also said that combining all kinds of information, Zhi.com signed exclusive agreements with a large number of periodicals and universities, restricted their cooperation with other third-party academic literature database service platforms, locked upstream high-quality academic resources, and artificially created barriers to the flow of knowledge, making it difficult for other competitors to compete fairly with them, affecting the sharing and dissemination of knowledge. At the same time, through the way of collecting at a low price and selling at a high price, Zhi.com has made ultra-high profits, and in the absence of legitimate reasons, it has greatly increased the price of the database for many years, increasing the burden on users and harming the interests of consumers. The above behavior of the knowledge network destroys the fair competition order of the relevant markets, 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 Commission of the State Council and a special professor of Shanghai Jiaotong University, pointed out to the Financial and Economic E Law, “it is certain that Zhiwang is suspected of abusing market dominance regulated by the Anti-monopoly Law.” He further explained that Zhi.com is likely to be suspected of monopolizing high prices (unfair asking prices or overpricing), as well as imposing unreasonable trading conditions and refusing to trade.
According to Sun Jin, a professor at Wuhan University Law School, “the unfair high price of Zhi.com is the most widely recognized monopolistic behavior, including unreasonable price increases for units and unreasonable charging behavior for readers to download articles.”
What is the significance of knowing the online case?
The investigation of Zhi.com is the first antitrust case in the field of platform economy that was publicly filed in 2022, and it is also the first antitrust case in the field of platform economy that has been publicly investigated since the establishment of the State Anti-monopoly Bureau. How to evaluate the impact and significance of the case? What kind of signal does it send to regulate the field of platform economy?
Shi Jianzhong pointed out that the knowledge net is a typical platform enterprise, and its filing and investigation is a specific measure of the CPC Central Committee to implement regular supervision, which is conducive to sending a clear and clear signal to the market. let the market establish a more reliable, stable and sustainable expectation of the rule of law, enhance the self-compliance consciousness of platform enterprises, and guide and encourage platform enterprises to carry out high-level competition through technological innovation and mode innovation. Constantly improve their core competitiveness. Through the implementation of regular anti-monopoly supervision, we will continue to purify the competitive environment in the field of the platform economy, optimize the innovation mechanism, and ensure a more healthy and high-quality development of the platform economy, we should give better play to the positive role of the platform economy in promoting scientific and technological innovation and economic prosperity, facilitating people’s lives, and participating in international competition.
Wang Xianlin said that although 2021 is called China’s anti-monopoly “big year”, but from the survey, it is more appropriate to call 2021 as the “first year” of strengthening anti-monopoly, which means that anti-monopoly will be sustained and normal in the future. In the future, China will adhere to the principle of paying equal attention to both supervision and regulation and promoting development, continue to strengthen anti-monopoly, and promote high-quality development through fair competition. The antitrust supervision in the field of platform economy will also enter a stage of normalization, precision and predictability.
For standardizing the healthy development of the academic literature database industry, Wang Xianlin believes that the current anti-monopoly law enforcement is undoubtedly necessary and timely, but in the long run, other efforts are needed.
Wang Xianlin specifically pointed out that the knowledge network, as an important national knowledge infrastructure, has public welfare functions such as promoting academic dissemination and exchanges and promoting national scientific and technological innovation, so it can be considered in terms of policy and law to implement public obligations such as universal and equal services, so that more members of the public can use the national knowledge infrastructure conveniently, equally and universally, which of course requires the provision of corresponding resources. At the same time, we should implement necessary and reasonable industry regulatory measures, such as bringing the corresponding fees into the national pricing or state-guided price catalogue.