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Qualcomm seeks to pay massive fine in installments

2018/01/23 19:03:01

From Qualcomm's Facebook

Taipei, Jan. 23 (CNA) Qualcomm Inc., a U.S.-based smartphone chip designer, has filed an application with Taiwan's Fair Trade Commission (FTC) to pay a massive fine in installments, and the FTC said it will review the application.

Speaking to the press on Monday, FTC Vice Chairman Perng Shaw-jiin (彭紹瑾) said Qualcomm filed the application that day, the deadline the U.S. firm has to pay a fine of more than NT$23 billion (US$782 million) for violation of Taiwan's antitrust regulations.

Qualcomm did not pay the fine but filed the application to seek the possibility of paying the fine in installments, Perng said.

He said the review of Qualcomm's application will be conducted as soon as possible but it remains to be seen whether a decision will be reached by the Lunar New Year holiday, which begins Feb. 15.

On Oct. 11, the FTC announced that it had decided to impose a fine of NT$23.4 billion on Qualcomm after an investigation was launched in February 2015 into allegations of anti-trust violations by the U.S. firm relating to its chip technology.

After two years of investigation, the FTC ruled that Qualcomm was involved in direct or indirect practices to prevent other smartphone designers from competing in the Taiwan market for at least seven years.

The fine against Qualcomm is the heaviest imposed on a single company since the FTC was established in 1991.

Qualcomm has disputed the fine, saying that it bears no rational relationship to the amount of Qualcomm's revenues or activities in Taiwan.

On Oct. 25, Taiwan's government-sponsored Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI) confirmed that Qualcomm has suspended its collaboration with the IRTI on the development of 5G technology. Qualcomm did not state a reason for its withdrawal from the cooperation deal, under which the ITRI would have obtained early access to Qualcomm's 5G small cell technology, but local media widely reported that the reason was the FTC's massive fine.

Right after the cooperation between the ITRI and Qualcomm, Technology Minister Chen Liang-gee (陳良基) said the move is expected to hurt Taiwan's 5G technology development.

Liu Pei-chen (劉佩真), a researcher with the Taiwan Institute of Economic Research, said Qualcomm's application to seek pay the fine in installments is because the company is expected to use its technology advantage to trade for benefits with the Taiwanese authorities.

Taiwan is eager to push for innovative industries, in particular the Internet of Things and 5G technology, for which it needs Qualcomm's assistance, Liu said.

(By Tsai Yi-chu and Frances Huang)