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UPDATE 1-Qualcomm says China's price regulator probing company

Monday, 25 Nov 2013 | 8:33 AM ET

Nov 25 (Reuters) - Qualcomm Inc said China's price regulator has started an investigation of the mobile chipmaker under the Chinese Anti-Monopoly Law.

Qualcomm said it was not aware of any violation but would cooperate with the investigation by the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC).

The NDRC did not say why Qualcomm was being investigated. However, Evercore Partners analyst Mark McKechnie said the investigation seemed to be part of a wider probe into the industry and not specific to the company.

China's state media on Sunday quoted an NDRC official saying the country will focus antitrust investigations on six industries, ranging from technology to medicine.

The Chinese government is probably trying to push for local suppliers in the technology space, analyst McKechnie said.

In the last few months, organizations affiliated to the Chinese government spend nearly $3 billion to buy China-based mobile chipmakers Spreadtrum Communications Inc and RDA Microelectronics Inc.

The NDRC is China's top economic planning body and regulates prices. It has launched nearly 20 pricing-related probes into domestic and foreign firms in the last three years, according to official media reports and research published by law firms.

The NDRC fined six companies, including Mead Johnson Nutrition Co, Danone SA and New Zealand dairy giant Fonterra, in August following a four-month investigation into price fixing and anti-competitive practices by foreign baby formula makers.

Qualcomm shares were down 1 percent at $72.20 before the bell on Monday.

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