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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

All significant merger-and-acquisition transactions require regulatory approval — and a new regulator just got to town.

Why it matters: We're in a tit-for-tat trade war, which means that any action the U.S. takes against China is going to be reciprocated by a similar action taken by China against America. That includes regulatory actions.

Driving the news: The auction for TikTok began when U.S. regulators forced China's ByteDance to sell any operations in the United States.

  • Soon enough, China stepped in to scuttle a potential deal with Microsoft, saying that ByteDance was not allowed to sell the TikTok algorithm to an American company.
  • China also has concerns about America's Nvidia buying the U.K.'s Arm Holdings from Japan's SoftBank. The Chinese press has started reporting that Chinese regulators might seek to block the deal, which, although it has no Chinese component, could have a significant effect on Chinese electronics manufacturers.

The bottom line: Few companies would want to unnecessarily antagonize China by entering into a deal that the Chinese government opposes. That gives Chinese regulators real power. And they're starting to use it.

Go deeper

China is the greatest, growing threat to America

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

China has outlined strategies for 2018, 2025 and 2050 all designed to displace the United States as the dominant global economic and national security superpower.

Why it matters: While America dawdles and bickers, China is thinking long-term — and acting now, everywhere. There is no U.S. equivalent of a plan for 2025 or 2050 — or really for next year. 

Sep 1, 2020 - World

China is censoring Hollywood's imagination

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

China's economic carrots and sticks are putting pressure on Hollywood to produce films that might soar in the country's box office — and avoid those that may displease Beijing.

The big picture: By censoring American blockbusters, Beijing believes it can prevent American and global audiences from imagining the Chinese Communist Party as a major threat, and from viewing the targets of China's repression as victims worthy of sympathy.

Updated Jul 3, 2020 - World

The 53 countries supporting China's crackdown on Hong Kong

Note: The U.S. has been highly critical of China over the law, but withdrew from the UN Human Rights Council in 2018; Map: Danielle Alberti/Axios

Dueling statements at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva shed light on geopolitical currents far beyond the walls of that institution.

Driving the news: China's Foreign Ministry and state media declared victory after 53 countries backed Beijing's new national security law for Hong Kong. Just 27 criticized the law, which imposes harsh penalties for vaguely defined political crimes and is widely viewed as the death knell for Hong Kong's autonomy.