The National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) asked a lot of questions during a surprise visit to Mercedes-Benz’s Shanghai office Monday morning. The officials looked at data and materials and had long conversations with the company’s senior executives.
Jiemian, a Shanghai-based financial news portal, reported Tuesday that the talks and investigation lasted the whole day and the senior executives were still stranded in the office at 9:00 p.m.
The investigation may focus on Mercedes-Benz vehicle prices and its price-fixing policy in China, sources with knowledge of the matter were quoted as saying.
Since March 2011, Mercedes-Benz has barred distributors from selling cars below a minimum price and forbad cross-region sales. Meanwhile, its auto parts prices are said to be higher than the industry average.
The NDRC has previously expressed concern over unfair competition in the domestic vehicle industry caused by foreign auto manufacturers.
On Sunday, Mercedes-Benz announced a reduction in auto parts prices, a move that could be seen as a sign of deferring to the government, an analyst was quoted as saying.
The government has been strengthening the enforcement of its anti-monopoly law released in 2008.
In recent months, authorities have launched investigations into Qualcomm and Microsoft.
An unnamed expert expects the enforcement of antitrust law to continue as Chinese authorities seek stronger influences over pricing issues in China.
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