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Chinese BMW dealers fined for monopoly


WUHAN, Aug. 14 (Xinhua) -- Authorities in central China's Hubei Province have meted out a combined anti-trust fine of 1.6 million yuan (about 260,000 U.S. dollars) to four BMW dealers, as the country steps up its fight against monopolies held by auto giants.

The Hubei price regulator found the four dealers manipulated market prices by forming a price alliance, the local government said on Thursday.

The fine came as China ramps up enforcement of its anti-monopoly law. The National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) said on Aug. 6 that it will punish Chrysler and Audi for monopolistic practices.

An NDRC spokesperson said probes into 12 Japanese companies have also found monopolistic behavior on prices of auto parts, and they will be punished in accordance with the law.

Price inspectors also visited Mercedes-Benz's Shanghai premises.

Many luxury car brands charge Chinese consumers much higher prices than they do in the United States or Europe -- sometimes up to three times as much.

As the round of anti-monopoly investigations caught public attention, several luxury car brands have slashed prices in China.



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