South Korea’s Fair Trade Commission have fined ten LCD panel makers operating inside the country a total of $176 million or 195 billion won. The fines were for allegedly holding meetings with the goal of keeping the prices of LCD screens artificially high. This is not the first time the LCD industry has been busted holding meetings over price fixing in the industry.
Together the ten firms that were fined hold 80% of the market share for LCD screens. According to reports, the firms held more than 200 secret meetings dubbed “crystal meetings” between 2001 and 2006 according to an investigator for the commission. Samsung was the firm hardest hit in the investigation with its fine alone totaling 97.2 billion won.
LG was the next biggest loser with a fine for three of its units totaling 65.5 billion won. AU Optronics was fined 28.5 billion won. The European Commission also fined some of these same firms in a similar case last year for price fixing occurring between 2002 and 2006. That EU case also mentioned the “crystal meetings.” I wonder if this has anything to do with Sony looking to pull out of the Samsung joint LCD venture.