After scrutiny from Chinese regulators impacted several carmakers, with two of them – Audi and Mercedes – facing fines of their own, the authorities have found a dozen Japanese parts makers guilty of breaching antitrust laws.
According to the website of the National Development and Reform Commission, China’s main economic planner, the tally for the fines imposed to the guilty companies total 1.24 billion yuan ($200 million). Among them, the worst hit is Sumitomo Electric Industries, facing a penalty of 290.4 million yuan – a new record for the largest antimonopoly fine imposed on a single company.
“This sends a warning to companies engaging in global price-fixing that they should beware of China,” said Chen Danzhou, a lecturer at the University of International Business and Economics in Beijing. “The government is getting more aggressive as it tries to make a structural adjustment to the market.”
The second largest fine went to Yazaki Corp. and besides the two, the regulator also penalized Denso Corp., Aisan Industry, NSK Ltd., Hitachi Automotive Systems Ltd., Mitsubishi Electric Corp., Mitsuba Corp., Furukawa Electric Co., Nachi-Fujikoshi Corp., Jtekt Corp. and NTN Corp. All the auto-parts makers were found guilty of price-fixing, in a series of investigations that also led to global carmakers such as Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Jaguar Land Rover, Toyota or Honda to lower their prices for spare parts, services or even vehicles.