Kazunori Takada Beijing
China’s powerful price regulator could target the petroleum, telecoms, banking and motor sectors next in its probes into violations of antitrust laws, state media quoted a senior official as saying yesterday.
The National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) would look at industries that had an impact on the lives of ordinary Chinese, China Central Television quoted Xu Kunlin, the head of the anti-monopoly bureau at the NDRC, as saying on one of its programmes.
The NDRC has launched nearly 20 pricing-related probes into local and foreign firms in the past three years.
But the scope of its investigations have gathered pace in recent months and coincide with criticism in official media about the price of goods such as milk powder, medicine, luxury cars and jewellery.
Last week the NDRC fined six milk powder firms for anti-competitive behaviour. It is also investigating 60 drug firms over pricing and costs.
Sebastien Evrard, a partner at law firm Jones Day in Beijing, said that while telecoms companies and fuel prices were often the target of regulators around the world, they were not obvious choices in China due to the involvement of state-owned companies. – Reuters