Chinese white liquor producers fined for setting distributors' resale prices

The National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) has once again shown that it is an antitrust enforcer to be reckoned with. Less than two months after it imposed record fines on several foreign LCD makers, two of NDRC’s local offices broke new ground by imposing significant sanctions upon two Chinese traditional alcoholic beverage producers for their resale price maintenance (RPM) practices. On 22 February 2013, NDRC’s Guizhou and Sichuan offices announced that they had imposed fines of RMB247m (approximately £326m) and RMB 202m on Chinese white liquor (‘baijiu’) makers Maotai and Wuliangye respectively.

Yet again, the combined fines imposed on the liquor companies set a new record for antitrust violations in China. Another significant feature of this case is that the two offenders are ‘national  champions’ in the ‘baijiu’ industry.

Unlike in the LCD panels case which was handled at the national level, the investigation into the RPM offenses were driven by the Guizhou Price Bureau and the Sichuan Development and Reform Commission…

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