On 22 August 2022, Shanxi Administration for Market Regulation (AMR) issued a decision to impose administrative penalties on seven motor vehicle inspection companies for taking part in a monopoly agreement in Shuozhou city. Shanxi AMR opened an investigation into the case in December 2021 and issued an administrative penalty decision against the parties in August 2022 in accordance with the law.

It was found that, during the period from September 2020 to January 2021, seven motor vehicle inspection companies in Shuozhou city held consultation meetings organised by Shuozhou Lantian Motor Vehicle Inspection Co (Lantian) to raise the price of safety inspection for small motor vehicles with fewer than seven seats. They reached and implemented monopoly agreements to fix the price of motor vehicle inspection services and allocate sales revenue, which excluded and restricted market competition and damaged the interests of consumers and social public interests.

Shanxi AMR held that the parties concerned were independent operators of the same business and thus were distinctly competitive with each other in the Shuocheng district of Shuozhou city. The parties were involved in reaching and implementing monopoly agreements to fix vehicle inspection prices and allocate vehicle inspection revenues. This resulted . in the formation of a community of entities with similar interests, which excluded and restricted competition in the motor vehicle inspection market within Shuocheng district, Shuozhou city

In addition, the aforementioned acts damaged the legitimate interests of consumers, causing the original market competition to be significantly weakened or even eliminated, interfering with the fair and just market competition environment to the effect of excluding and restricting competition. The foregoing conduct of the parties violated article 13(1)(a) and (3) of the Anti-Monopoly Law (AML) 2008 and articles 7(1) and 9(1)(a) of the Interim Provisions on Prohibiting Monopoly Agreements, thereby constituting the illegal acts of entering and implementing monopoly agreements to fix or vary the price of goods and to divide the sales market.

Pursuant to article 46(1) and 49 of the AML 2008, Shanxi AMR decided to impose a fine of 5% of the annual sales of 1,464,728.50 yuan (£182,579.55) for the year 2020 on Lantian, amounting to 73,236.43 yuan (£9,128.98), and a fine of 3% of the annual sales for the year 2020 on the other six involved parties.

For further information on this topic please contact Hao Zhan or Ying Song at AnJie Law Firm by telephone (+86 10 8567 5988) or email ([email protected] or [email protected]). The AnJie Law Firm website can be accessed at www.anjielaw.com.