The world’s largest auto market has been making the headlines this month for its ongoing investigations into foreign brands that allegedly violate anti-monopoly laws.
Chinese regulators have expanded probes that were started years ago (the one on the auto industry seems to date back as far as 2011), targeting numerous businesses – from auto brands to technology or food companies.
When it comes to the automotive sector, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), China’s anti-trust regulator, has so far revealed that Audi – the luxury unit of Germany’s Volkswagen AG – was found guilty of breaching the six-year-old anti-monopoly law. Other brands, including its rivals BMW and Mercedes-Benz, hastily reduced pricing in the country.
Now, the 21st Century Business Herald, a well-known business daily, reports that the premium brand could be fined as much as 250 million yuan ($40.63 million/£24.36 million) – as the regulator can sanction the guilty company with a sum in between one and ten percent of the company’s revenue for the previous fiscal year. So far, Audi has acknowledged that its local sales division – a joint venture operated with state-owned FAW Group – breached “part” of the country’s anti-monopoly legislation, adding it would accept the penalty the NDRC will impose.