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China fines Changan Ford $23.6 million for violating monopoly law

By Chen Liubing | | Updated: 2019-06-05 14:43
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A Ford Mustang attracts visitors at the 2017 Shanghai Auto Show. [Photo/China Daily]

China's State Administration for Market Regulation announced Wednesday that it has fined Changan Ford 162.8 million yuan ($23.6 million) for violating China's anti-monopoly laws.

The automaker entered into vertical monopoly agreements, which according to news outlet ThePaper, refers to agreements between different operators in the same industrial chain to exclude and limit competition.

Common vertical monopoly agreements include establishing minimum resale prices for third parties and setting up exclusive dealing or purchase agreements.

The administration said that Changan Ford since 2013 has violated the Anti-Monopoly Law by setting up minimum resale prices for its downstream dealers in Chongqing.

This impinged on downstream dealers' pricing autonomy and excluded and limited competition within the brand, said the administration, adding that this practice weakened competition between brands and encroached on consumers' legitimate rights.

In accordance with the Anti-Monopoly Law, the market regulator fined Changan Ford four percent of its past -year sales in Chongqing.

The administration said it will continue to enforce the Anti-Monopoly Law, ensure fair competition in the market, create a sound business environment, promote high-quality economic development, and protect consumers' legitimate interests.

Established in 2001, Changan Ford is a Sino-US joint venture with registered capital of $241 million.

Chongqing Changan Automobile Co Ltd remains the largest shareholder, with a 50 percent stake.

Ford Asia-Pacific Automobile holdings own 35 percent of company shares, while Ford Motor (China) holds a 15 percent stake.

The share price of Chang'an Motors once plummeted around seven percent on Wednesday morning.

Changan Ford said in a statement later on Wednesday that the company fully respects and will abide by the decision made by national authorities in the anti-monopoly investigation. The company further said that it has taken action to standardize regional sales management with dealers.

Changan Ford said that the company will continue to standardize its business activities in accordance with national laws and regulations, and earnestly maintain a free, fair and competitive market, reported.

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