Qualcomm called out by China for alleged overcharging, dominance

China's anti-monopoly body says Qualcomm is abusing its market dominance and could face more than $1 billion in fines.

Jason Jenkins/CNET

Qualcomm, the chipmaker whose products are found in numerous mobile phones, is facing trouble in China.

China's National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), an antitrust regulator in the country, said Wednesday that Qualcomm is under investigation for possible overcharging and using its position of "dominance" in the marketplace to limit competition. Reuters earlier reported on the news.

That China has been investigating Qualcomm has been known for months, but until this point, the agency has kept its allegations close to the vest. In November, Qualcomm said that it planned to fully cooperate with government authorities.

According to Reuters, NDRC said on Wednesday that it received complaints from Qualcomm competitors who said that the company was charging too much for its patent licensing. China is also investigating whether Qualcomm is charging more for its products in China than in other markets.

The NDRC confirmed that it raided Qualcomm offices in Beijing and Shanghai in November. The agency has interviewed some of the company's top executives.

If the NDRC decides that Qualcomm was in violation of any laws -- a step it has yet to take -- the watchdog has the right to hit the company with up to $1 billion in fines.

Qualcomm has said publicly that it has been cooperating with the investigation and plans to continue to do so.

About the author

Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.

 

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