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Qualcomm faces prospect of record antitrust fines in China


By Michael Martina and Matthew Miller BEIJING (Reuters) – Qualcomm Inc, the worlds biggest cellphone chip maker, may be hit with a record fine exceeding $1 billion in a Chinese antitrust probe, raising the specter of harsh penalties for foreign firms facing an increasingly aggressive regulator. Chinas National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) initiated an investigation into Qualcomm last year and is currently holding talks with the U.S. company, which this month said it was still in the dark about the basis of the scrutiny. The probe and the potential fine – the amount of which could hinge on negotiations – come as the NDRC zooms in on information technology providers, especially companies that license patent technology for mobile devices and networks. Industry experts say the NDRC, the governments main economic planning body, is trying to lower domestic costs as China rolls out its faster 4G mobile networks this year.

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