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Friday, January 04, 2013, 04:56 am PT (07:56 am ET)

Samsung, LG charged with LCD panel price fixing in China

A number of Apple suppliers, including Samsung, LG, AU Optronics and Innolux, have been fined by the Chinese government for price fixing.

A total of six companies have been accused of holding 53 secretive meetings in Taiwan and South Korea to agree on prices for LCD panels, according to Bloomberg. China's National Development and Reform Commission also fined Chunghwa Picture Tubes Ltd. and HannStar Display Corp. in the price fixing scheme.

The commission reportedly said that the companies, which mainly build LCD panels for TVs, also shared other confidential information between them. It also revealed that the companies confessed to their crimes.

iPad


For its part, Samsung Display Co. said it ceased participation in price fixing at the end of 2005. Though the company is a fierce rival, Samsung remains a key supplier to Apple, and was initially the only manufacturer of Retina displays for the third-generation iPad.

LG, another major Apple panel supplier, said its illegal activities occurred between 2001 and 2006.

China's fines come soon after a number of the same companies settled a class-action lawsuit in July, in which they paid a total of $1.12 billion in damages. As part of that deal, LG paid $380 million, Samsung paid $240 million, AU Optronics paid $170 million, and Toshiba Corp. paid $21 million.

LG, Samsung and Chunghwa were also hit with $585 million in fines in 2008 when all three companies pleaded guilty to price fixing in the LCD display market. At the time it was revealed that Sharp's role in the matter affected Apple from September 2005 to December 2006, when Sharp supplied iPod displays.