China regulators says Qualcomm seeks to end anti-trust probe

BEIJING Fri Aug 22, 2014 7:09am EDT

Visitors walk past the Qualcomm stand at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona in this February 24, 2014 file photo. REUTERS/Albert Gea/Files

Visitors walk past the Qualcomm stand at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona in this February 24, 2014 file photo.

Credit: Reuters/Albert Gea/Files

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BEIJING (Reuters) - U.S. chipmaker Qualcomm Inc (QCOM.O) is seeking to end an investigation by China's pricing regulator into monopoly practices, the company said on Friday, expressing its willingness to improve and correct pricing issues according to the regulator.

The National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), in a statement on its website, said its officials had met on Thursday with a delegation from Qualcomm which included company President Derek Aberle.

"Qualcomm executives discussed with NDRC officials several topics in an effort to reach a comprehensive resolution," the company said in an e-mailed statement. "We are continuing to cooperate with NDRC and cannot comment further."

The NDRC gave no further details.

The regulator is investigating Qualcomm's local subsidiary after it said in February the U.S. chipmaker was suspected of overcharging and abusing its market position in wireless communication standards, allegations which could see it hit with record fines of more than $1 billion.

Last month, a state-run newspaper said the NDRC had determined that Qualcomm had a monopoly but did not say whether the regulator had determined that the company had abused this monopoly. Qualcomm is one of the world's biggest mobile chipmakers.

Qualcomm is one of at least 30 foreign firms to come under scrutiny as China seeks to enforce a 2008 anti-monopoly law which some critics say is being used to unfairly target overseas businesses, raising protectionism concerns.

Companies being investigated for anti-trust issues include Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O) and automaker Volkswagen AG (VOWG_p.DE). This week, the NDRC slapped a record $201 million fine on 12 Japanese automakers it said had engaged in price manipulation.

(Reporting by Paul Carsten, Matthew Miller and Beijing Newsroom; Editing by Miral Fahmy and Matt Driskill)

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