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Challenges in Regulating Competition in the Digital Economy
6 June 2019
A competitive environment is key to the successful development of the digital economy

From the customer’s point of view, competition allows various services to develop. This is to the benefit of the economy, it helps businesses grow, and everything is good. [The US, – Ed.] is promoting internal competition specifically to avoid snuffing out development, because monopolization does snuff out development — Elena Ivashentseva, Senior Partner, Baring Vostok Capital Partners..

It is crucial to have a level playing field when it comes to developing digital businesses, including for Russian and international companies operating in Russia — Stepan Kuznetsov, Managing Director, Digital Business Development Directorate, Sberbank .

The main role of the state is to stimulate competition and lower the threshold to the market. That helps foster competition, it helps new companies to get off the ground and begin competing with the giants — Svetlana Balanova, General Director, IBS.

Large investments in the digital economy are needed

We all believe that the potential of digital markets is high, but today – and in the medium-term – these markets require large investments — Ruslan Ibragimov, Member of the Management Board, Vice President for Corporate and Legal Affairs, MTS.

Regulation is not keeping pace with technological development

In terms of intellectual rights, the antimonopoly service must show what licensing practices constitute an abuse of rights. We need new approaches to regulation in this field — Grigory Ivliev, Head of the Federal Service for Intellectual Property..

In terms of access to digital platforms and regulating competition between digital platforms, we must bear in mind that it is primarily about access to content. If intellectual property and access to it is more-or-less regulated in our country, then the second aspect – personal data – must also be regulated — Irina Sirenko, Director of Government Relations, Rostelecom.

The digital economy is everything. And today we have to decide how it will continue to take shape as we move forward — Dmitry Afanasiev, Chairman, Co-founding Partner of Egorov, Puginsky, Afanasiev & Partners.

We obviously need more knowledge about the way this industry works, but at the same time there is urgency, because this industry evolves in a very quick way — Ioannis Lianos, Professor of Global Competition Law and Public Policy, University College London (UCL).

When we came to Russia, the system with regulation was a bit different because we created new markets wherever we went. Nobody was doing long-distance carpooling, so there was no regulation, or very weak regulation around defining carpooling — Nicolas Brusson, Co-Founder, Chief Executive Officer, Blablacar.

Global digital platforms can stymie competition

The creation of a global platform leads to competition being stymied — Dave Waiser, Founder, Chief Executive Officer, Gett.

A focus on the customer’s needs

I consider it to be fair to regulate platforms, in line with article 13 in the law on competition. This could be briefly summarized as follows: if an organization sets up a structure, this is permitted even if it violates the rules of classical competition if it is done in the interests of the majority of the population and/or business, i.e. when everyone stands to benefit — Andrey Tsarikovskiy, Stats-Secretary, Deputy Head of the FAS Russia.

The key thing is that the customer should be the winner. Therefore, when a company becomes a monopoly and uses its status to stop other players – with potentially the best product – from breaking into the market, they should absolutely be regulated — Oleg Tumanov, Chief Executive Officer, .

At the heart of any digital business lies a goal – to improve the quality of the product for the user, to improve its performance. For us it is a cornerstone, our main development goal — Julia Popelysheva, Director of Legal Department, Yandex.

Developing clear rules regulating access to data

Regulation in the field of access to data must be developed with great care and precision. Then competition on the level of platforms will be based on a natural foundation — Anna Serebryanikova, Chief Operating Officer, MegaFon.

It is essential for the government to decide that we must have equal access to various forms of data – both raw data, and enriched data — Elena Avakyan, Executive Director, Non-Profit Partnership for Advancement of Corporate Law.

Changing the approach to defining competition

The fifth antimonopoly package is shifting the regulator’s centre of attention from cross-platform competition to intraplatform competition. This is a very important progressive story, which the expert community regards as inclusive — Aleksey Ivanov, Director, Institute of Law and Development HSE - Skolkovo, Director, BRICS Antimonopoly Centre, National Research University Higher School of Economics .

We should not be afraid to admit that big, innovative companies may be the dominant ones – even monopolies – and we can be proud of them. Google is one such example — Vasyl Latsanych, Chief Executive Officer, VimpelCom .

The material was prepared by the Russian news agency TASS