The United States maintains that China’s restrictions and requirements limit the ability of foreign suppliers of financial information services to conduct business in China and place them at a competitive disadvantage in the marketplace. The apparent conflict of interest of China’s regulatory authority compounds these issues. As such, China appears to be acting inconsistently with several WTO provisions, including Articles XVI and XVII of the General Agreement on Trade in Services as well as commitments made by China in its WTO accession agreement.
Here's a USTR fact sheet as well.
From EC DG Trade's background memo:
The relevant Chinese measure appears to breach China's GATS commitments on national treatment and market access, which require that foreign companies can operate in China and are not treated less favourably than local ones. It is also contrary to obligations not to cut back on existing rights for companies and to provide regulatory independence, which China committed to ensure at the time of its WTO Accession in 2001.
The official WTO consultations request documents should be available later this week.
Who are the companies that are the major players in the industry? AFP reports:
Financial information services, the subject of WTO trade complaints against China by the US and European Union, are dominated by US firm Bloomberg and Canadian-British Thomson-Reuters in the process of merging.
The two heavyweights, each with a third share of the global market, are trailed at a distance by three US companies and one Swiss firm, according to Inside Market Data, which reports on the global financial market data sector.
US-based Interactive Data, owned by British group Pearson, is the closest runner-up, with a five percent market share.
Dow Jones, bought last year by News Corporation, holds a three percent slice, as does US rival Factset. Switzerland-based Telekurs has a two percent share.