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Auto companies under probe in China
Publication Date : 13-08-2014
Antitrust investigations have spread to other industries, sources disclose
More than 1,000 Chinese and overseas companies in the auto industry, including manufacturers, suppliers and dealers, are involved in anti-monopoly investigations, according to an official at China's top economic planning body.
Antitrust investigations already announced in the auto and telecommunications sectors have spread to other industries, say sources close to the probes.
For example, a large number of cement and medical companies are also involved in the investigations, according to sources.
Besides recent high-profile cases, antitrust investigations into domestic companies are also underway and a monopoly case involving a state-owned company will be disclosed soon, an official at the National Development and Reform Commission, who declined to be identified, told China Daily.
The latest auto company involved is US manufacturer General Motors, which said on Tuesday its passenger vehicle joint venture in China was contacted by the commission after at least seven foreign carmakers cut prices amid the antitrust investigations.
BMW, Volkswagen's Audi, Daimler's Mercedes-Benz, Tata Motors' Jaguar Land Rover, Fiat's Chrysler, and Toyota and Honda have all announced price cuts for vehicles or spare parts in July and early August.
FAW-Volkswagen's Audi division may face a fine of 1.8 billion yuan ($292 million) for operating a monopoly, The Economic Observer reported on its website on Tuesday, quoting an unnamed Audi dealer.
The report said the punishment is equivalent to 1 per cent of the company's sales in 2013, which is the minimum level as the Anti-Monopoly Law states that violators can be fined between 1 and 10 per cent of their sales revenue for the previous year. China Daily could not independently confirm the report.
Recent high-profile antitrust cases have sparked rising concerns over China's monopoly efforts, with some foreign businesses complaining that they are being targeted unfairly.
The commission official said the investigations, some of which began in 2011, are not aimed at any specific type of industry or a specific country.
"Investigations in many industries started with domestic companies and then spread to foreign companies," he said.
He said investigations into state-owned or domestically owned private enterprises are also underway and a monopoly case involving a stated-owned company will be disclosed soon.
He would not disclose the sector the state-owned company is in, saying only that it is not the auto industry.
More than 1,000 auto companies are probed