Several questions remain unanswered following the Chinese government's decision to penalize Samsung, among others, over price-fixing of flat panel screens. One of the most pressing issues is which companies will receive compensation from the fine and how much each will receive.
Of the 353 million yuan (US$56 million) penalty Samsung, LG and four Taiwanese LCD makers were ordered to pay, 172 million yuan (US$27 million) had been earmarked as compensation for Chinese companies--primarily TV manufacturers--affected by the price-fixing. However, after rounds of meetings, none of them reported to have received a single cent.
Nine TV manufacturers were supposed to receive compensation from the 172 million yuan payout, including TCL, Skyworth, Konka, and Changhong.
According to a source with the alias "Zhang Zai", who works for one of the Chinese TV makers, the most recent meeting was held on Jan. 10 and discussions held were no where near an agreement on exactly who should get paid and how much.
Reports have since emerged claiming the compensation fund has been held back by CTU Tech, a Shenzhen-based industry group representing 10 Chinese TV makers, nine of which were supposed to receive part of the compensation money. CTU Tech issued a statement on Jan. 10, saying it was given the legal right to manage the distribution of the compensation and refuted allegations made in various media reports it had mishandled the process.
An industry insider, who did not want to be identified, said: "It was our loss [from the price-fixing tactics] and the money should be paid back to us... There should at least be a hearing to let us decide what to do with it."
He also questioned why Samsung and other companies paid the fine outright without first determining who would be the beneficiary.
According to a local Web site's report, a spokesperson from Samsung said the Chinese government had given the Korean vendor an account number, but one which did not contain a name, adding it had simply followed the formalities and paid its part of the fine, which was 101 million yuan.