China says it will punish Audi, Chrysler

Posted at 08/06/14 1:01 PM

SHANGHAI/BEIJING - China said it will punish foreign car makers Audi and Chrysler as well as some 10 Japanese spare-part makers for violating the country's anti-monopoly law.

The National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), responsible for enforcing rules against anti-competitive pricing, said on Wednesday that it had found Fiat SpA's Chrysler in Shanghai and Volkswagen 's Audi in Hubei to be engaging in monopolistic behaviour.

The government has also completed investigations into 12 Japanese auto-parts makers and will mete out punishment to those found to be breaking the anti-monopoly law, Li Pumin, spokesman of the NDRC, said at a press conference in Beijing. The NDRC did not identify the spare-part makers and did not say how many of them would be punished.

China is intensifying efforts to bring companies into compliance with an anti-monopoly law enacted in 2008, having in recent years taken aim at industries as varied as milk powder and jewellery.

In recent months, regulators have ramped up probes in industries ranging from pharmaceuticals to electronics. A number of multinational companies including Mead Johnson Nutrition Co and Danone SA have been slapped with substantial fines following similar investigations in the past.

In the latest anti-trust blitz, foreign companies that have been targeted include U.S. chipmaker Qualcomm Inc, which officials labelled as monopolistic last month and is widely expected to get a heavy fine. Last week, investigators stormed Microsoft Corp offices in four Chinese cities as part of an ongoing probe.

The NDRC said on Wednesday that it was also conducting an investigation into Daimler's Mercedes-Benz. Last week, the Jiangsu division of the NDRC conducted investigations into Mercedes-Benz dealers in five cities.