German automaker Daimler is confirming Chinese officials have searched its Shanghai offices.
It appears the Chinese government is continuing its push-back against foreign companies over antimonopoly and price fixing, which has seen the likes of Microsoft face action from Beijing.
The car company recently announced it would be reducing the price of Mercedes repair parts being sold in China by some 15 percent, which was a response, it says, "to antimonopoly investigations into the automobile industry" by China's National Development and Reform Commission. Daimler's offices were searched August 4, after the announcement, according to reports.
The company is cooperating with Chinese officials in the investigation.
Senol Bayrak, a spokesman for Daimler Greater China in Beijing, said, "we confirm that we are assisting the authorities in their investigation." He added, "We are unable to comment further on what is an ongoing matter."
The move is part of China's overall look into multinational companies' pricing schemes in the country. The government is concerned that the same companies are offering their services and parts for a lower price in other markets, which China sees as potentially a price-fixing scheme that would be a violation of its antimonopoly laws.
Tech Times has reported Microsoft is also facing an antitrust investigation in China. The government said the tech company would make things worse if it were to attempt to "obstruct" the ongoing investigation by China's State Administration for Industry and Commerce.
Microsoft has not commented on the investigation, but said that its "business practices are designed to be compliant with Chinese law."
Similar to the current Daimler conundrum, for Microsoft the investigation is whether its products and devices are failing to be on par with China's rules and regulations on compatibility and authentication. The move is seen by the government as forcing officials and consumers to use Microsoft products when they could have gone for another brand, and appears in the Chinese government's ban on Windows 8.
Price fixing has become an international issue of late as more and more companies aim to boost and maintain profits while not being forced to reduce prices. This often means companies work together, tacitly, to ensure prices do not drop too far, which China and other governments view as violations of antimonopoly laws.