Cartoons

Screen test

Adam Smith wrote: “People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices.” The British economist drew this insight in the eighteenth century. But now the Chinese government seems to have taken the advice on board. In a landmark investigation six companies have been fined for price fixing, including Samsung and LG. The probe by the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) began in 2006, and looked into the period between 2001 and that year. It found the South Korean tech giants had met 53 times with four Taiwanese firms to discuss the price of flat panel screens sold in China. During that period the companies sold 5.15 million panels to TV makers and PC firms at a pre-determined price.

Earlier this month the NDRC fined the six firms a combined Rmb352.75 million ($56.7 million), with about half the sum going to the Chinese TV makers as compensation for being overcharged.

According to a China News report, Samsung has said it respects the NDRC decision and will not appeal against the price manipulation fine.


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