China fines LG, Samsung in flat panel price case

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04:48 PM January 4th, 2013

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January 4th, 2013 04:48 PM

In this Oct. 20, 2012 photo, Chinese people line up to enter a newly-opened Apple Store in Wangfujing shopping district in Beijing. A Chinese court has ordered Apple Inc. to pay 1.03 million yuan ($165,000) to eight Chinese writers and two companies who say unlicensed copies of their work were distributed through Apple’s online store. The Beijing No. 2 Intermediate People’s Court ruled Thursday, Dec. 27, 2012 that Apple violated the writers’ copyrights by allowing applications containing their work to be distributed through its App Store, according to an official who answered the phone at the court and said he was the judge in the case. (AP Photo/Andy Wong, File)

BEIJING—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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