Changan Ford fined $23.6m for violating antitrust rules in China: report

Source:Global Times Published: 2019/6/5 13:42:44

Changan Ford, a joint venture between the US automaker Ford Motor Co and China's Changan Automobile, was fined by Chinese regulators for violating antitrust regulations, sparking a strong response from Chinese netizens in support of its decision. 

"We should boycott US automobiles, including Buick, Ford and Cadillac," said the most-liked comment on the Tencent News website. 

Another user posting under the nickname Tangshiwaye commented that foreign companies need to comply with Chinese regulations and must be punished if they breach any laws or violate consumer interests. 

Changan Ford was fined 163 million yuan ($23.6 million) by the State Administration for Market Regulation (SAMR) for violating Chinese antitrust rules, media reports said on Wednesday.

According to the SAMR, Changan Ford has abused its monopoly power through price fixing with its downstream dealers since 2013. The company has therefore jeopardized fair competition in the industry and received a fine equivalent to 4 percent of its annual sales in Southwest China's Chongqing Municipality.

The fine against the Sino-US auto joint venture can be seen as a signal to the US amid escalating trade tensions that US auto companies are vulnerable in the Chinese market if the US insists on unreasonably intensifying the trade tensions, Feng Shiming, executive director of Menutor Consulting Shanghai, told the Global Times on Wednesday. 

"It reminds me of when China slapped SAIC-GM with a $29-million fine amid growing China-US tensions in December 2016," Feng said.

Tesla, whose $5 billion Gigafactory in Shanghai is under construction, and GM, which has benefited greatly from the China market, could be vulnerable if the tensions continue to escalate, Feng said.

Share prices of Changan Automobile dropped shortly after SAMR imposed the penalty on Changan Ford. As of 11 am on Wednesday, share prices of Changan Automobile witnessed their sharpest slump of 4.8 percent, dropping to 6.35 yuan. 

Changan Ford responded to the penalty by saying the company "fully respects the decision" and has taken measures to ensure that its dealers are operating in accordance with regulations, according to a company statement issued to the Global Times Wednesday morning.


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