Top official claims to have evidence against Qualcomm over price-fixing - Chinese media

December 12
1:35 PM 2013

A report from the official English-language China Daily said on Thursday that National Development and Reform Commission's (NDRC) anti-price-fixing bureau Xu Kunlin has evidence substantive enough as proof that Qualcomm Inc is involved in a price-fixing scheme. The chipmaker is currently under an antitrust probe. It was noted that it was the Chinese agency's first comment on the case that was made in public. China Daily did not provide any other details in its report.

When asked by Reuters regarding Xu's comments, Qualcomm's China-based public relations official said the company does not have any comment on the matter. In November, the biggest maker of cellphone chips in the world had said it will be cooperating with the NDRC in light of an antitrust investigation, although the report said it was unaware of any violations in the anti-monopoly law.

The report said NDRC had been accelerating its crackdown in companies in the past few months who had violated provisions of the anti-monopoly law. In August, the agency handed down record fines to six milk powder companies that include Danone and Mead Johnson Nutrition Co. The NDRC were said to have also punished local jewelers for antitrust violations.

Xu said, as quoted, that the agency will be adding a minimum of 170 people to boost its price-fixing enforcement teams in its aggressive efforts in major industries, including the automotive sector, to tame anti-competitive behavior. The China Daily said twenty of them will be stationed in Beijing, effectively increasing its team's size of 46 people.

Xu reportedly called for the consolidation of the State Administration for Industry and Commerce and the antitrust divisions at the Ministry of Commerce to his bureau as the two agencies' duties were overlapping.

The NDRC's steps were part of the grand plan of China to restructure its economy to be more consumer-drive, said Reuters. The antitrust probes were said to have been done to curtail practices that influence the astronomical high prices of consumer products, the report said.

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