Nokia’s proposed acquisition of Alcatel-Lucent gained approval in China, as the €15.6 billion deal moves closer to completion.

Nokia said in a statement it received antitrust clearance from the Chinese Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM), which “is another significant milestone in the transaction, as we ready ourselves for operating as a combined company”, commented Nokia CEO Rajeev Suri.

According to Reuters, Nokia agreed to meet certain conditions to secure approval, relating to the use of wireless telecoms standards and patent licencing, which it will fulfill by 10 December.

The country’s Ministry of Commerce reportedly said the terms were imposed to ensure China’s market competition isn’t harmed by the takeover.

The approval comes almost two months after Nokia announced intentions to create a joint venture in the country (named Nokia Shanghai Bell), subject to the deal closing, alongside investment company China Hexin, which would see the combination of Nokia China with Alcatel-Lucent Shanghai Bell (ASB).

“Through Nokia Shanghai Bell, we look forward to maintaining our deep commitment to China and playing a key role in the country’s shift towards an innovation-driven economy,” added Suri.

Nokia said the deal remains on track to close in the first half of 2016, and both companies will now continue to cooperate with the French government to obtain formal approval from the Ministry of Economy, Finance and Industry (MINEFI), before filing a previously announced public exchange offer for Alcatel-Lucent securities.

“Once the offer period opens, the proposed transaction will remain subject to approval by Nokia shareholders and the successful closing of the exchange offer, and is expected to close in the first half of 2016,” Nokia said.

So far, the deal, which is going through a rigorous worldwide approval process, has been given the nod in a number of key markets, including Europe, India, the US and Brazil.