South Korea has fined 10 LCD manufacturers for price fixing, or consorting to artificially increase price of their goods. This usually works by agreeing on an artificial floor price, thus nullifying the normal market forces that tends to push LCD prices lower (because the competition is supposedly so ferocious). This worked because between them, all 10 companies held about 80% of the LCD market.

The South Korean authorities have found that the LCD makers were holding secret meetings between 2001 and 2006 during which they discussed the matter. Each company was fined a different amount, depending of their level of involvement, but overall the fines totaled $176M.

Obviously, this is no pocket change, but it is not all that big if you look at the size of the LCD business, especially looking 10 years back. The companies involved are (in alphabetical order):

AU Optronics
Chimei Innolux Display
Chungwha Picture Tubes
HannStar Display
LG Display
LG Display Japan
LG Display Taiwan
Samsung Electronics
Samsung Electronics Taiwan
Samsung Japan

Those cases are typically very hard to crack as there is no paper trail and evidence that can be used by local authorities. However, it has been reported that Samsung tipped the authorities, and in return it escaped the fines.

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