China fines Korea firms in flat panel price case
BEIJING / SEOUL
An LCD screen are set up on Tiananmen Square is seen in this file photo. AP photoChinese regulators have fined South Korean companies LG and Samsung and four Taiwanese companies on charges they fixed prices of flat panel screens sold to Chinese manufacturers, The Associated Press has reported.
The government announced on Jan. 4 that LG, Samsung and the Taiwanese companies were ordered to repay a total of 172 million yuan ($27 million) to Chinese customers. In addition, the companies were fined a total of 144 million yuan The Chinese Cabinet’s economic planning agency said investigators found that representatives of the six companies met dozens of times in 2001-06 to agree on prices to charge for flat-panel screens. It said that improperly raised costs for Chinese manufacturers.
Separately, South Korea’s foreign ministry confirmed on Jan. 3 that Google chairman Eric Schmidt was planning a visit to North Korea, but said it was unable to comment on the reason for the trip, Agence France-Presse reported.
“We are aware that he is planning a personal visit,” ministry spokesman Cho Tai-Young told a regular press briefing. Cho said Seoul was “not aware” of either the timing or the reason for Schmidt’s trip to Pyongyang. “We know of Schmidt’s visit to the North only as a private visit. So there is no specific comment to be made from our government,” he added. Google has so far refused officially to confirm the visit, which was reported by the Associated Press and Wall Street Journal as being part of a humanitarian mission.