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China fines LG, Samsung in flat panel price case

Fri, 01/04/2013 - 1:28am
The Associated Press

In this Aug. 5, 2007 file photo, massive scaffolding and an LCD screen are set up on Tiananmen Square ahead of a countdown ceremony to celebrate the coming 2008 Beijing Olympic Games in Beijing. China on Friday, Jan. 4, 2013, joined a global crackdown on price-fixing by manufacturers of LCD screens used in computers and TVs, imposing multimillion-dollar fines on Korea’s Samsung and LG and four Taiwanese companies. (AP Photo/Andy Wong, File)

China has fined South Korea's LG and Samsung and four Taiwanese companies a total of 144 million yuan ($22.8 million) for fixing prices of flat panel screens, the government announced Friday.

The move reflected Beijing's growing enforcement of its laws on pricing and competition against global companies and some Chinese entities to support its economic development goals.

China's economic planning agency said investigators found representatives of LG, Samsung and the four Taiwanese suppliers met dozens of times in 2001-06 to agree on prices to charge for flat-panel screens sold to Chinese manufacturers of computers, TV sets and other electronics. It said that improperly manipulated market prices.

In addition to the fines, the companies were ordered to repay a total of 172 million yuan ($27 million) to Chinese customers, the National Development and Reform Commission said in a statement. It said authorities also seized 36.8 million yuan ($5.8 million) from the companies, raising the total of money in the case to 353 million yuan ($56 million).

The Taiwanese companies are AU Optronics, Ltd.; Chunghwa Picture Tubes, Ltd.; HannStar Display Corp. and Chi Mei Corp.

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National Development and Reform Commission (in Chinese): www.sdpc.gov.cn

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