In China, Qualcomm is facing difficulties surrounding perceived price fixing. Anti-monopoly regulators in China have accused Qualcomm of overcharging, and abusing their market position as a leading chipset manufacturer. It’s part of an ongoing effort to protect Chinese consumers from pricing which could get out of hand.
The National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) could fine Qualcomm upwards of $1 billion, according to a Reuters report. In a press conference this morning, Xu Kunlin, who heads up the NDRC’s anti-monopoly and price supervision bureau said “We received reports from relevant associations and companies that Qualcomm abuses its dominant position in the market and charges discriminatory fees”. The alleged wrongdoing occurred with Qualcomm charging higher fees in China for use of their patent technoligies. Those reports Xu spoke of led to raids on Qualcomm’s Beijing offices in November.
“The NDRC has advised us the investigation is confidential” said Qualcomm spokeswoman Christine Trimble in response to the press conference. She went on to note Qualcomm had no comment at this time, as they’d not been provided a transcript of the press conference. The news comes as a surprise, but isn’t the first time the NDRC has gone after companies for such actions.
InterDigital, developer of patent technologies for wireless devices and networks, has come under the same microscope. In a December statement, InterDigital apologized for “misunderstanding Chinese laws”, and vowed to work with the NDRC to rectify any wrongdoing. The NDRC has launched several investigations into similar actions against both domestic Chinese companies, and foreign entities such as San Diego based Qualcomm.