gfdgdfgdffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffw Hong Kong Competition Law could break dominance of two chains
Like many people living in Hong Kong's big residential estates, Mrs Hui has access to only one chain supermarket in the shopping arcade downstairs from her North Point flat.
"Since it is the only supermarket down my flat, I just shop and go without any opportunity to compare prices or the quality of the goods," she said.
The dominance of a handful of chains comes as no surprise to anyone in Hong Kong, and the reasons aren't difficult to fathom. Taking Hui's estate as an example, it is well known that the supermarket chain is part of the conglomerate that developed the complex and which also owns the shopping arcade, giving it the power to select tenants.

Meanwhile in Hong Kong, the two dominant supermarket chains, ParknShop and Wellcome, were last year forced to deny accusations of collusion following a study by the Federation of Trade Unions, which accused them of shifting prices up and down in tandem at some of their stores.

But a glimmer of hope for shoppers arrived in June, with the passing of the city's first Competition Law after more than a decade of wrangling. Now, the question turns to what impact the law will have - when the bodies set up to enforce it finally takes shape.

The Commerce and Economic Development Bureau estimates it will take at least another year to complete the preparation for the law to take effect. The law provides specific examples of serious infringements, which include agreements that fix prices, allocate markets and rig bids.

The rule prohibits anti-competitive abuse of "significant market power" by a single firm. Such abusive conduct can include, for example, pricing goods below cost to drive out competitors, and the refusal to supply essential goods or services.

New Consumer Council chief executive Gilly Wong Fung-han says the new law will serve to bring in competition and is expected to improve both...