On 13 October 2015, the Administration for Industry and Commerce (AIC) in Anhui Province announced that it has imposed a fine of RMB 200,000 (around USD 31,500; EUR 28,500) on Sunyard System Engineering Co., Ltd. (Sunyard), for the latter’s failure to cooperate in an antitrust investigation. The Anhui AIC published the decision on its website, leading to broad coverage of the decision on its website, leading to broad coverage of the decision in the Chinese media.
Prior to this non-cooperation fine, the Anhui AIC was conducting an investigation into allegedly anti-competitive practices by Sunyard (and another two companies). During the investigation the AIC requested the company to provide various documents, including its agreements, accounting books, business communications, and electronic data, etc. However, Sunyard failed to provide the requested documents within the specified period of time.
This appears to be the first published case where a company has been penalized in a separate decision for failure to cooperate in an antitrust investigation. The decision demonstrates that antitrust authorities in China continue to seek important amounts of information from companies under investigation, and have measures to force the handing over of documents and other information. Given the legal and reputational risks, if placed under investigation, companies need to make sure they have in place the proper safeguards and mechanisms to ensure compliance with regulatory requirements.