Top 9 anti-trust cases in China

Since the Chinese Anti-monopoly Law came into force in 2008, authorities have launched a series of anti-monopoly investigations and in most cases companies that have been targeted have been fined.

Series of high-profile anti-monopoly cases in China.

No 1 Automobile probes:

On August 6, the NDRC announced it will punish two auto giants for monopolistic practices.

Separate antitrust probes into Chrysler and Audi are drawing to an end, said Li Pumin, spokesman for the NDRC. He did not specify punishments.

Chrysler was investigated by the Shanghai Municipal Development and Reform Commission and Audi by the Hubei Province Price Bureau.

Probes into 12 Japanese companies have also found monopolistic behavior regarding prices of auto parts. The companies will be punished in accordance with the law, Li said.

He also confirmed reports that the Jiangsu Province Price Bureau has separately launched an anti-trust investigation into Mercedes-Benzdealers in five Jiangsu cities.

No 2 Microsoft’s tie-in sales:

The State Administration for Industry & Commerce (SAIC) confirmed in August 2014 it had launched a probe into Microsoft China Co Ltd, including three of its branches in Shanghai, Guangzhou and Chengdu as the firm is suspected of monopolistic practices.

According to the SAIC, in June 2013 it investigated complaints from enterprises that Microsoft used tie-in sales and verification codes in its Windows operating system and Microsoft Office software suite, causing software incompatibility issues. These practices may have breached China’s anti-monopoly law.

No 3 Qualcomm’s license fees:

In July 2014, Qualcomm Inc., one of the world’s largest mobile computer chipmakers, received three antitrust investigations from the NDRC. The NDRC confirmed that Qualcomm was guilty of abusing its market position in wireless communication standards to overcharge Chinese companies. Qualcomm is looking at fines upwards of $1 billion.

No 4 Eyeglasses price fixing

In May 2014, NDRC stated that Johnson & Johnson Inc and Bausch & Lomb Inc had pursued vertical price-fixing.

These two companies and several contact lens and eyeglass manufacturers were fined a total of 19.6 million yuan ($3.18 million).

No 5 Gold price manipulation

Five Shanghai-based gold and jewelry stores and a local trade association have been fined a combined total of 10.59 million yuan ($1.72million) for manipulating the prices of their products on August 13, 2013.

According to the NDRC, the five stores are Shanghai Laofengxiang Co Ltd, Shanghai Laomiao Gold Co Ltd, First Asia Jewelry, Chenghuang Jewelry and Tianbao Longfeng.

The NDRC said probes by local pricing authorities found the five stores had manipulated the retail prices of their gold and platinum jewelryin accordance with a pricing scheme created in cooperation with the Shanghai Gold & Jewelry Trade Association.

No 6 Infant formula pricing

Six infant formula producers, Biostime, Dumex, Mead Johnson, Abbott, Friesland and Fonterra were fined 670 million yuan ($108.8 million) by the NDRC on August 7, 2013 for vertical price monopoly.

NDRC investigations found that their products had been priced higher in the Chinese market than in other markets.

No 7 Baijiu liquor price fixing

In Feburary 2013, Kweichow Moutai Co Ltd and Wuliangye Yibin Co Ltd were fined a total of 449 million yuan by the NDRC for setting up aprice monopoly. The fine accounted for one percent of the two companies’ total revenues in 2012.

The NDRC fined Moutai for 247 million yuan and Wuliangye for 202 million yuan.

No 8 LCD screen price monopoly:

In January 2013, six liquid crystal display (LCD) screen producers, including two from South Korea (Samsung and LG) and four from Taiwan (CMO, AU Optronics (AUO), Chunghwa Picture Tubes and HannStar), were punished by the NDRC for vertical price monopoly. A vertically integrated monopoly occurs when a company controls both the production and distribution chains in an industry. The total punishment for these companies reached 353 million yuan ($57.3 million).

No 9 Broadband services monopoly:

The National Development and Reform Commission, China’s top economic planning agency, in 2011, started to investigate a suspected monopoly held by China Telecom and China Unicom in the broadband business.)

The two operators, which together account for 90 percent of China’s broadband business, could face fines of up to 10 percent of their annualrevenues from Internet services, the NDRC said when it launched the probe.

It was reported Feb 19 that the NDRC would rule on the case. As of Thursday, Aug 7, there has been no disclosed ruling.

http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/business/2014-08/08/content_18270762.htm

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