China: The Merger Between Ctrip And Qunar Triggers New Thought On Supervision (In Chinese)

Last Updated: 29 March 2016
Article by AnJie Law Firm

这类"老大娶老二"的合并,自然为百度、阿里、腾讯、红杉等资本方所乐见,但同时不可避免地引出一个问题:业内巨头合并,市场份额都已占据各自所在领域的绝对垄断地位,已经触发了我国反垄断机制,那么,政府对此的反垄断到底该不该启动?应该如何把握互联网时代的反垄断问题?这无疑是"互联网+"市场竞争和政府监管中一个至关重要的问题,有必要深入探讨。

以下为南方都市报原文:

近期,互联网领域竞争出现了新的明显态势:业内龙头企业纷纷合并。简单一数,即58同城和赶集网、滴滴和快的、美团和大众点评以及刚刚出炉的携程和去哪儿合并。这些合并的共同点就是合并双方都是各自领域内数一数二的企业,因而被戏称为"老大娶老二"。

上述合并,资本方是直接赢家,但政府的反垄断监管,却不是以资方标准为标准,而是以消费者利益为根本标准。也就是说,是否能为消费者提供新的价值,才是政府监管的终极衡量标准。

从这个角度观察,直接考虑的是有关合并是否能够实现各方市场资源的有效整合,从而提高资源使用效率、降低市场运营成本、开发新的产品,为消费者提供新的价值。目前尚不敢断言,只能说这是必须的,是所有市场行为理所当然的努力方向,目前看来也有实现的可能。

但更重要的,是考虑合并后市场竞争格局的变化对行业经营行为的影响,即企业是否有更强的意愿和压力为消费者提供新的价值。如果并购弱化了竞争,甚至形成了垄断,则可能降低企业为消费者提供更好价值的意愿,转为利用市场垄断地位赚钱;如果是强化了竞争,或者至少没有弱化竞争,则为了竞争和发展的需要,优势企业仍必须想方设法维持、加强自己的市场竞争地位,努力通过自己的经营为消费者提供更多福利,而其他企业也依然可以有充足条件挑战领先企业的市场地位。鉴于互联网条件下竞争态势、竞争格局的根本改变,以及有关领域的市场竞争格局,相关并购似乎还不足以削弱竞争,更不可能消灭竞争,所以正向竞争的总体态势依然会保持。当然,市场竞争格局如何变化尚有待观察。

那么,这种情况下,政府的反垄断监管应该怎么办?根据我国有关反垄断管理规定,有关并购无疑应属于反垄断审查范畴,启动反垄断审查和监控是必要的,但如何判断、如何认定却与传统的反垄断审查有很大不同。

首先,这些合并是否会压制其他竞争对手,产生弱化竞争的效果?现在看还不会。虽然这些龙头企业合并理所当然占据了相关领域大半市场份额,但远不能说就能控制了市场的定价权,无论是对上游的服务/产品提供者还是下游的消费者,以及同领域的其他竞争对手。其中根本原因是互联网时代竞争特征的极大改变,即竞争平面化、直接化,渠道控制力大大减弱。如携程去哪儿合并后或许他们可以协调市场策略不再烧钱打价格战,但他们却左右不了其他O TA服务商。如果携程去哪儿合并后提供的服务、价格没有竞争力了,其市场份额很容易就会被其他竞争对手抢走。

其次,从更广泛的市场角度考虑,这些合并还远不能说形成了市场垄断。如携程去哪儿合并后是占了我国在线旅游(OTA)市场份额的近70%,可O TA只占我国旅游业的不到10%,也就是说,合并后的携程去哪儿也只占我国旅游销售市场的不到7%,且各种旅游销售方式替代性极强,供需双方的替代成本也很低,即使业内优势企业也不可能利用自己的优势市场地位来控制市场。同时,从旅游业总体发展态势来看,OTA还处于高速发展阶段,市场空间巨大,竞争格局更不可能固化,不能静态、绝对地看待目前优势企业的市场份额。

第三,必须重新考虑互联网竞争时代有关市场垄断的判定问题。应该看到,互联网时代的市场竞争,与传统条件下的市场竞争有根本差异。传统竞争条件下,50%以上的市场份额几乎意味着对于市场的绝对垄断,相对于竞争对手、产品供应商和消费者都具有了绝对优势地位,可以利用此地位谋取利益。因为市场渠道掌握在垄断者手里,而生产者、消费者无法直接交易或者直接交易成本巨大以至于不可能,而竞争对手短时间内也无法替代这个巨无霸直接面向消费者,即使这些竞争对手可以提供质量更好、价格更低的产品和服务——— 也就是通常所谓的形成了市场竞争壁垒。但互联网时代的竞争有了根本性变化,市场越来越平面化、直接化,生产商、服务商与消费者的连接不再遥不可及或成本巨高,而是可以点对点直接面对,几乎不需要付出替代成本,这就对中介服务商产生了根本制约,即使行业巨头也不可能绑架两者了——— 我们作为个体消费者其实都已经有了类似的消费体验。同时,这种状况也让竞争对手不再受到传统市场竞争那样的压制,市场格局随时可能发生颠覆性变化,传统意义上的优势市场地位的控制力、持续力大大削弱,原来意义上的市场竞争壁垒几乎不再存在。所以,在互联网竞争态势下,单纯的市场份额,已经不能作为判断是否构成垄断的基本标准。

第四,即使在传统的反垄断领域,也越来越趋向于垄断行为的禁止,而非一般的市场优势地位禁止。换言之,即使某个企业在某个领域拥有了绝对市场优势地位,但却没有"不当"利用这一优势地位去谋取利益,损害消费者和竞争对手权益,政府也不能以反垄断为由强令该企业取消其市场垄断地位,如以前通常采用的拆分等手段。也就是说,只要政府保留着对于企业的垄断行为随时进行查处的权力,并且这种查处可以即时消除垄断行为产生的不良后果,则没有必要对于企业获取更大市场份额的行为予以提前禁止,而应转而加强对其实际经营行为的监控。从国际反垄断的趋势看,随着市场竞争的日益国际化,以及互联网时代竞争特点的变化,主要国家反垄断的重点已经越来越转向对于企业实际垄断行为的监管。

退一步说,假如我们对于互联网时代垄断与反垄断的基本特征还认识不清,应该采取的做法也不是在企业获取市场优势地位的过程中予以制止,而是强化后期企业市场竞争具体行为的监管,这样才能避免对于市场的不当干预,既维护市场竞争,又激励企业创新、集约、规模发展,实现行业发展水平提升和消费者福利增加的高度统一。

作者:马宇(商务部研究院外资部主任)

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