China fined South Korean and Taiwanese makers of LCD display screens $56 million on Friday for price-fixing, joining the United States and Europe in a crackdown on the industry.
Suppliers have been hit by American and European regulators with penalties totaling more than $3 billion for colluding to push up slumping prices of display screens in 2001-06. US courts have sentenced 12 executives to prison.
In China, the display-manufacturing arms of Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics, along with four Taiwanese companies, were ordered to pay 144 million yuan ($22.8 million) in penalties plus repayment to Chinese customers and other charges, according to China's planning agency, the National Development and Reform Commission.
Envoys from LG Display, Samsung Display and the Taiwanese suppliers met every quarter in 2001-06 to set prices of screens at a time when supply outstripped demand, pushing down market prices, according to Western and Chinese regulators. Samsung owns 85% of Samsung Display, the biggest display manufacturer. LG Display is a publicly traded company in which LG owns a 38% stake.
The display makers “manipulated market prices and damaged the lawful interests of other companies and consumers”, said an NDRC statement.
US prosecutors say some $74 billion in global sales of display screens were affected by the conspiracy.