China fines Samsung, LG for flat panel price-fixing

China fines Samsung, LG for flat panel price-fixing

Summary: The Chinese government has fined Samsung, LG and four Taiwanese companies US$56 million for manipulation of market prices of flat panel screens.

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China has fined Samsung and LG along with four Taiwanese firms a total 353 million yuan (US$56 million) for price-fixing of flat panel screens.

The move by China's National Development and Reform Commission is the first time any foreign company has been penalized for anti-trust issues in China, Yonhap News Agency reported Friday.

The four Taiwanese companies fined were AU Optronics, Chunghwa Picture Tubes, HannStar Display, and Chi Mei Optoelectronics.

An official from the commission said the six companies held 53 rounds of "crystal conferences" or meetings between 2001 and 2006, claiming these were to exchange information on the global LCD (liquid crystal display) panel market.

"Those involved turned out to have negotiated prices or manipulated prices [of the screens], hampering legitimate rights and interests of other parties and consumers," the official said.

Out of the total fine, 172 million yuan (US$27 million) was paid as a refund to nine Chinese TV makers, including Konka Group, Changhong Electric, Skyworth Group and TCL Corp, Yonhap reported.

Samsung and LG were hit with the biggest penalities, with a fine of 101 million yuan (US$16 million) and 118 million yuan (US$18 million), respectively.

Sales of 5.15 million pieces of LCD panel in China during the period were recognized under the monopolistic behavior in the case, among which 826,500 pieces were sold by Samsung while 1.93 million were sold by LG Electronics, according to a Sina News report on Friday.

The commission said Samsung, LG and the four Taiwanese companies have committed to strictly abide by the Chinese laws, engage in a fair competition and extend the unpaid warranty service period for China's domestic TV makers to 36 months from the previous 18 months, the report noted.

A spokesperson from LG Display, an affiliate of LG Electronics, said the company is focused on its efforts to block price-rigging. "To prevent a recurrence of such problems, LG Display has been mending policies and executing them, and remains committed to operating with compliance and transparency," he said.

Samsung declined to comment, the report added.

Both Samsung and LG have been fined in the past for price-fixing activity. Last March, the South Korean Fair Trade Commission (FTC) fined Samsung, LG and local telcos SK Telecom, KT Corp and LG Uplus a total of 45.3 billion won (US$40.1 million) for price rigging and customer fraud.

ZDNet Asia's Jamie Yap contributed to the report.

Topics: Legal, Hardware, Samsung, China, Tech Industry

Jamie Yap

About Jamie Yap

Jamie writes about technology, business and the most obvious intersection of the two that is software. Other variegated topics include--in one form or other--cloud, Web 2.0, apps, data, analytics, mobile, services, and the three Es: enterprises, executives and entrepreneurs. In a previous life, she was a writer covering a different but equally serious business called show business.

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3 comments
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  • More information please

    Come on ZDNet, please provide more detailed information than just headline title news. This news story provides information about regulator, LG, Samsung but does not provide specific information exact nature of price fixing. What these companies did which lead to price fixing?
    p.vinnie@...
  • What? I don't beleive it!

    Samsung is guilty of price fixing? Wow... Samsung's factories use improper labor practices (forced overtime and child labor), Samsung is under investigation in Korea for improper business practices, and now this... And you wonder why I've been saying that Samsung knowingly and willfully infringed upon Apple's IP?
    athynz
    • Of course

      This is no secret! Samsung and LG tv's were/are all over the market. Like one day, they weren't even a competitor and the next, they are the market. These companies seriously suck! They copy everyone else's ideas and then make them as their own.
      Sovereign1