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China fines Samsung and LG for LCD price-fixing

Follows similar action from EU and US

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Samsung and LG Electronics, along with four Taiwanese companies, have been fined by the government for jigging LCD screen prices between 2001 and 2006.

The secret negotiations held the prices of LCD screens artificially high, China's National Development and Reform Commission found - affecting the manufacture of phones, laptops, TVs and other devices for which they are a crucial component.

China's National Development and Reform Commission imposed fines totalling 353 million yuan ($56m) on the six South Korean and Taiwanese LCD makers, the Wall Street Journal reported.

All six companies are under investigation for the same behaviour from the European Union, which imposed levies in 2010 and in the US, where a series of different cases are ongoing.

The Commission said that a total of 5.15 million LCD panels connected to the price-fixing case were sold in mainland China.

Samsung's 101 million yuan penalty ($16m) is pocket change to the company that last year had a market capitalisation of over $200bn. According to the Wall Street Journal, the fines would have been higher but because the price-fixing occurred before international antitrust legislation was passed in China, the companies could only be prosecuted under domestic legislation, which can impose only smaller fines.

LG Electronics landed the highest fine: 118 million yuan ($19m).

Innolux Corp, AU Optronics Corp, Chungwa Picture Tubes Ltd, and HannStar Display Corp all received lesser fines. Innolux was fined 94.41 million yuan ($15.15m), AU Optronics 21.89 million yuan ($3.51m), Chungwa Pictures received a 16.2 million fine ($2.6m) and HannStar Display was ordered to pay 240,000 yuan ($39,000). ®

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