Qualcomm Settles Antitrust Dispute With China for $975 Million
The world's largest mobile chip maker also agreed to change some of its business practices in China, including royalties for some of its technology.Qualcomm, the world's largest mobile chip maker, will pay a $975 million fine and make changes to its business practices in China to settle an antitrust investigation that had dogged the company for more than 14 months. Qualcomm officials announced the settlement Feb. 9, saying that while they disagreed with the country's National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC)—essentially China's anti-monopoly agency—which found that the chip maker had violated China's 2008 antitrust laws, they will not dispute the settlement or pursue further legal action. What's important now for Qualcomm—which in the last fiscal year generated more than half of its revenues in China, and which has continued to invest heavily in its operations in the country—is to put the case behind it, according to Qualcomm executives. "We are pleased that the investigation has concluded and believe that our licensing business is now well positioned to fully participate in China's rapidly accelerating adoption of our 3G/4G technology," Qualcomm President Derek Aberle said in a statement.
The settlement comes after what Reuters reported earlier in the day had been fruitful negotiations between Qualcomm and the NDRC last week. Along with the fine, Qualcomm also agreed to make changes in its business policies as part of what officials called a "rectification plan." Included in the plan is the agreement that Qualcomm will offer licenses to its current 3G and 4G patents in China separately from licenses to other patents, and that it will give patents lists during negotiations.