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Chinese mobe-makers in pincer movement to corner Qualcomm

Industry alliance weighs in to antitrust complaint with accusation of overpricing

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China’s mobile phone industry has turned up the heat on Qualcomm after submitting a damning report to government regulators in an on-going antitrust investigation into the US chip giant.

China’s Communications Industry Association, consulted 20 out of its 30 key member companies before submitting its findings to the National Development and Reform Commission, according to state-run CCTV.

The report apparently alleges that Qualcomm is using its dominant position in the China market - where its chips are found in 60 per cent of handsets - to overcharge for patents fees and bundle sales.

"Overseas patent owners charge a lot of dollars and the consequence is that the entire Chinese mobile phone industry is reduced to manufacturers. Their profits are taken by global companies," CCIA’s secretary general Wang Yanhui told CCTV.

For its part Qualcomm sent The Reg the same statement it has been touting for the last couple of months.

It continues to claim its “business practices are lawful and pro-competitive” and that it licenses “at reasonable rates”.

It also argues it has invested billions of dollars investing in the R&D which has in turn helped its Chinese handset maker-partners move up the global sales charts.

This isn’t the first time CCTV has had a pop at Western technology players, of course, and not always successfully.

Its attempts to smear Apple over customer service policy last March backfired after netizens saw through the premeditated hatchet job.

It also managed to extract an apology from Samsung in October last year – making a meal of a minor defect in several smartphone models to humble the chaebol giant.

Unfortunately for Qualcomm, government regulators don’t usually begin an antitrust case if they don’t think they can make it stick.

Reports have claimed that the eventual fine could top $1 billion. ®

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