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Japan's NSK says hit with US$28.5m fine by China regulators

Japanese auto parts maker NSK said on Tuesday (Aug 19) it had been hit with a US$28.5 million (S$35.47 million) fine for violating China's anti-monopoly laws, part of a wider crackdown that has ensnared major firms including Audi and Chrysler.

TOKYO: Japanese auto parts maker NSK said on Tuesday (Aug 19) it had been hit with a US$28.5 million (S$35.47 million) fine for violating China's anti-monopoly laws, part of a wider crackdown that has ensnared major firms including Audi and Chrysler.

The company said it was "fully cooperating" with China's National Development and Reform Commission, which slapped it with the 174.92 million yuan (US$28.5 million) penalty in connection with the sale of ball bearings.

"We express our sincere regret for the concern this matter has caused our shareholders, customers and other stakeholders," NSK said. "NSK and its subsidiaries regard the situation with the utmost seriousness," the firm added, as it pledged to pay the fine.

The announcement comes about two weeks after Chinese regulators said they would punish foreign carmakers operating in the world's biggest auto market. It also said a dozen Japanese companies were under investigation for monopoly pricing of auto components and bearings, but they were not identified. NSK was the first to identify itself publicly.

Beijing has launched sweeping probes into alleged wrongdoing by foreign firms in multiple different sectors, among them pharmaceuticals, technology and baby milk. Chinese regulators believe prices for both parts and vehicles are unfairly high in the country. But manufacturers say authorities impose heavy duties on imported cars and parts, which ramp up costs for domestic consumers.

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