SHANGHAI, Sept 4 (Reuters) - A Chinese anti-monopoly team visited medical devices and semi-conductor firms in Shanghai at the start of September, the country's Ministry of Commerce said in a statement on Thursday, without making clear the purpose of the visit.
"Through on-site visits to firms and by holding forums, we deepened our understanding of the competitive environment in industries such as semi-conductors and medical devices," the ministry said in the statement published on its website.
China is looking to consolidate some key sectors from healthcare to dairy to increase the ability of local firms to compete against foreign rivals.
The three-day visit was led by the Zheng Wen, the deputy head of the Ministry of Commerce's anti-monopoly unit. The ministry focuses on the regulation of mergers and acquisitions (M&A), rather than violations of China's anti-monopoly law.
Industry insiders expect a wave of M&A in the domestic medical devices sector. Beijing is looking to promote local players in the market which is says will reduce soaring healthcare costs, a potential threat to the global firms who currently dominate the sector.
China has also been looking to consolidate the semi-conductor market in order to make the domestic industry more competitive, analysts said.
Some foreign companies have become concerned they are being targeted by Chinese regulators, a U.S. business lobby said this week, as a Chinese antitrust agency defended probes into firms such as U.S. chipmaker Qualcomm Inc. (Additional reporting by Gerry Shih in BEIJING; Editing by Joseph Radford)