updated 09:42 am EST, Fri January 4, 2013
Six companies fined over alleged misconduct
China regulators have levied fines against Samsung, LG and several other companies accused of colluding to artificially inflate LCD panel prices. Six companies will share the 353 million yuan (~$56.7 million USD) combined penalty, however Samsung and LG face the brunt of the punishment with respective fines of 118 million yuan (~$18.9 million USD) and 101 million yuan (~$16.2 million USD).
China's antitrust agency, the National Development and Reform Commission, accuses the companies of holding over 50 secret meetings, referred to as "crystal conferences," during a five-year period beginning in 2001. The companies, which include AU Optronics, Innolux, Chunghwa Picture Tubes and HannStar Display, are said to have shared confidential information and established price-fixing agreements, according to a China News report.
The accused companies reportedly admitted wrongdoing in talks with the NDRC, and have agreed to abide by Chinese law and uphold fair competition in the market.
"We do not expect this decision to impact our relationship with customers or panel sales," LG said in a statement provided to The Next Web. "LG Display remains committed to operating with full transparency in providing the best quality products and services to its global customers."
The regulatory action echoes a similar move by the European Commission, which culminated in an $856 million fine against many of the same companies for LCD price fixing between 2001 and 2006. The EC followed up with a $1.9 billion fine against CRT manufacturers, including LG and Samsung, in yet another price-fixing scandal.