Business / Technology

The timeline of Qualcomm fine

( Updated: 2015-02-10 13:54

Over the past 14 months, the National Development and Reform Commission conducted nine rounds of official dialogues and countless meetings with Qaulcomm Inc, resulting in the biggest anti-monoploy fine in Chinese history. Below are some key events on how the prolonged investigation developed into the $975 million fine.

The official investigation against Qualcomm was triggered by complaints from lawyers and industrial organizations in 2013.

In mid-November, 2013, the NDRC investigators raided Qualcomm's China headquarters in Beijing and its Shanghai offices.

On December 13th, the NDRC announced it is investing Qualcomm under monopoly charges. Qualcomm quickly fought back, saying their behavior abides by Chinese laws.

After a war of words, the parties started official contact.

In May 2014, Qualcomm handed in a report denying its monopoly status. A key author of the report was Zhang Xinzhu, a renounced anti-monopoly expert who also consults with the nation's top regulators.

The NDRC was furious that one of the experts supposedly on its side was also helping Qualcomm. Zhang was subsequently ousted by the expert panel.

In June 2014, China and South Korea held an industry dialogue on anti-monopoly legislation. South Korea had fined Qualcomm for more than $200 million on monopoly charges.

In July, top executives of Qualcomm visited the NDRC for the third time. After the meeting, Qualcomm changed its tone, confirming that it was under monopoly investigation. The company described the previous talks with the NDRC as an "exchange of views".

By mid-2014, some Western media outlets criticized the Chinese investment environment for overseas companies. One of the major criticisms was that antitrust investigations similar to the one Qualcomm was facing would damage overseas players' competiveness in China.

The European Union Chamber of Commerce in China also issued a public statement regarding the antitrust department's law enforcement procedures and questioned the impartiality of the antitrust investigation.

As a result of external pressure, Chinese high institutions reiterated their commitment to investigating the matter. During the Summer Davos conference, Lu Wei, director of the China National Internet Information Office held a meeting with Qualcomm's global CEO to discuss the group's business in China. Lu Wei was quoted as saying that China could not allow any kind of market behavior that went against market competition and that could hurt the interest of China.

In December 2014, Joerg Wuttke, president of the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China, and a delegation visited the NDRC. Following the meeting, the Chamber released an official press release appreciating the NDRC's work and encouraging further mutual cooperation to safeguard the fair competition environment.

In October and December of last year, Qualcomm's CEO Derek Aberle visited the NDRC for the sixth and seventh time.

The two sides met again last Wednesday and Friday to discuss the issue again.

This morning, the NDRC announced that Qualcomm will be fined at a record-breaking $975 million to settle the case.

Hot Topics

Editor's Picks