Cartel Digest

TFT-LCD

TFT-LCD
  Overall Cartel Period 2001-2006
  Participants LG Display Co., Ltd.; Sharp Corp.; Chunghwa Picture Tubes Ltd.; Chi Mei Optoelectronics Corp.; HannStar Display Corp.; Epson Imaging Devices Corp.; Hitachi Displays Ltd.
  Total Fines (DOJ) $1.4 billion
  Total Fines (EC) €648.9 million

In 2006, the U.S. Department of Justice (“DOJ”) and the European Commission (“EC”) began investigating possible cartel-related activity in the Thin-Film Transistor-Liquid Crystal Display (“TFT-LCD”) industry following probes by regulators in South Korea and Japan.  TFT-LCD panels are used in computer monitors, laptops, televisions, mobile phones and other electronic devices, with a market value of approximately $70 billion in 2006.  According to the DOJ, the cartel members fixed prices for TFT-LCD panels sold to Dell, Motorola and Apple from 2001 to 2006.  The DOJ found that the cartel participants traded sales information to facilitate price fixing at meetings referred to as “crystal” meetings. 

Enforcement Highlights:

  • LG Display Co., Ltd. was fined $400 million, one of the largest fines ever imposed by the DOJ Antitrust Division.
  • After an eight-week trial, AU Optronics Corporation and its U.S. subsidiary, and three company executives were convicted of conspiring to fix prices. 
  • The Japan Fair Trade Commission imposed a ¥261,070,000 (approximately $2.9 million USD) fine on Sharp Corporation for fixing the price of TFT-LCD modules used for display screens in hand-held Nintendo gaming systems.
  • The EC imposed fines totaling over €650 million for price-fixing in the LCD screen industry.
  • On October 10, 2013, a jury in San Francisco acquitted Richard Bai, the Director of Sales for Notebook LCD panels at AU Optronics of Taiwan, of criminal price fixing charges after a three week trial. Mr. Bai was represented by Shearman & Sterling, LLP.
  • This is the first case in which China has imposed antitrust fines against non-Chinese companies.
Company Conspiracy Period Fine (USD) Plea Date No. of Excluded Individuals Plea Agreement
LG Display Co., Ltd. 9/01-6/06 $400 million 12/15/2008 N/A  
Sharp Corp. 4/01-6/06 $120 million 12/16/2008 N/A  
Chunghwa Picture Tubes Ltd. 9/01-6/06 $65 million 01/14/2009 N/A  
Chi Mei Optoelectronics Corp. 9/01-12/06 $220 million 02/08/2010 5 Plea Agreement
HannStar Display Corp. 9/01-1/06 $30 million 08/05/2010 2 Plea Agreement
Epson Imaging Devices Corp. 1/05-1/06 $26 million 10/23/2009 3 Plea Agreement
Hitachi Ltd. 4/01-3/04 $31 million 05/26/2009 2 Plea Agreement
AU Optronics Corporation 9/01-12/06 No fines imposed 03/13/2012  
AU Optronics Corporation & AU Optronics Corporation America 9/01-12/06 $500 million 09/20/2012 N/A  
Individual Company Prison Sentence Fine (USD) Plea Date Plea Agreement
Bock Kwon, President, LG Taiwan LG Display Co., Ltd. 12 months $30,000 06/26/2009 Plea Agreement
Chang Suk Chung, VP of Monitor Sales, LG Philips LG Display Co., Ltd. 7 months $25,000 02/17/2009 TFT-LCD Plea Agreement - LG Display - Chung - US
Chieng-Hon Lin, Chairman, CEO Chunghwa Pictures Tubes Ltd. 9 months $50,000 02/20/2009 Plea Agreement
Chih-Chun Liu, Vice President of LCD Sales Chunghwa Pictures Tubes Ltd. 7 months $30,000 02/27/2009 Plea Agreement
Hsueh-Lung Lee, Vice President of LCD Sales Chunghwa Pictures Tubes Ltd. 6 months $20,000 02/27/2009 Plea Agreement
Jau Yang Ho, President Chi Mei Optoelectronics Corp. 14 months $50,000 06/02/2010 Plea Agreement
Chen-Lung Kuo, VP, Sales Chi Mei Optoelectronics Corp. 9 months $35,000 09/10/2010 Plea Agreement
Chu-Hsiang Yang, Director of Sales Chi Mei Optoelectronics Corp. 9 months $25,000 05/06/2010 Plea Agreement
Wen-Hung Huang, Director of Sales Chi Mei Optoelectronics Corp. 9 months $25,000 08/12/2010 Plea Agreement
Jiu Hung Wu, Executive Director HannStar Display Corp. 9 months $20,000 11/22/2010 Plea Agreement
Hsuan Bin Chen, President AU Optronics Corporation 3 years $200,000 09/20/2012  
Hui Hsiung, Vice President Au Optronics Corporation 3 years $200,000 09/20/2012  
Shiu Lung Leung, Senior Manager AU Optronics Corporation 2 years $50,000 12/18/2012  
Korea
Company Fine Date
Samsung Electronics Corp. ₩ 96.8 billion
Samsung Electronics Taiwan Corp. Ltd. ₩ 495 million
Samsung Japan Corp. ₩ 693 million
LG Display Corp. ₩ 67.7 billion
LG Display Taiwan Corp. Ltd. ₩ 77 million
LG Display Japan Corp. Ltd. ₩ 300 million
AU Optronics Corp. ₩ 19.9 billion 02/06/2012
Chi Mei Innolux Corp. ₩ 1.5 billion
Chunghwa Picture Tubes Ltd. ₩ 297 million
Hannstar Display Corp. ₩ 871 million
Japan
Company Fine Date
Sharp Corp. ¥ 261 million 12/18/2008
China
Company Fine Date
Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. ¥ 101 million 01/04/2013
LG Corporation ¥ 118 million 01/04/2013
Innolux Corporation ¥ 94.4 million 01/04/2013
Innolux Corporation ¥ 94.4 million 01/04/2013
AU Optronics Ltd. ¥ 21.9 million 01/04/2013
Chunghwa Picture Tubes Ltd. ¥ 16.2 million 01/04/2013
HannStar Display Corporation ¥ 24 million 01/04/2013
Europe
Company Fine Date
Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. Immunity 12/08/2010
LG Display Co., Ltd. € 215 million 12/08/2010
AU Optronics Corp. € 116.8 million 12/08/2010
Chi Mei Innolux Corp. € 300 million 12/08/2010
Chunghwa Picture Tubes Ltd. € 9 million 12/08/2010
HannStar Display Corp. € 8.1 million 12/08/2010