For the first time since the Antimonopoly Law came into effect in 2008, China is the country that imposed the highest amount of fines in East Asia in any given year. The $951 million fine imposed on Qualcomm for abusive licensing practices alone accounts for more than half of the amount of fines imposed in the region during the year. Chinese authorities also imposed heavy fines on cartel practices in the shipping industry, and continued their enforcement against vertical price restrictions in the car industry.
2015 full year summary
Meanwhile, Taiwan imposed significant fines on suppliers in the electronics industry in connection with an international cartel case which it investigated jointly with other Asian authorities. Fines imposed in Korea, Indonesia and Malaysia were of roughly the same level as in previous years. Only Japan saw a marked decrease in total fines compared to previous years. Total antitrust fines imposed during the year amounted to $1.7billion, on par with the amount imposed in 2014.
While abuse of market power cases accounted for the majority of fines in monetary terms, 2015 confirmed well-established trends, with bid-rigging and cartel practices accounting for the vast majority of decisions. Aggressive enforcement activity against the rigging of public tenders continued unabated in Indonesia and Korea, as well as – to a lesser extent – in Japan. As in previous years, no bid-rigging cases were reported in China.
2015 top sectors
Most cartels and bid-rigging cases were reported in the construction and transport sectors, as in previous years. Other affected sectors included IT and electronics, where significant fines were imposed in a small number of cases.