ZTE in South Africa has agreed to pay R5-million in a settlement agreement over “cartel conduct”, the Competition Commission said on Tuesday.
The Chinese-headquartered telecommunications and electronics company was accused by the commission of colluding to divide markets. ZTE has “agreed to refrain from engaging in any prohibited practice or anticompetitive conduct in contravention of the Competition Act in future”, the commission said. It will also implement a competition law compliance programme internally.
“Although ZTE South Africa has agreed to the terms of the settlement agreement, it does not admit liability in respect of the conduct as alleged by the commission. The commission, in turn, has agreed to enter into the settlement agreement with ZTE South Africa without an admission of liability, based on various factors, read with the remedies contained in the consent agreement, including that ZTE South Africa has not previously been found guilty of contravening the act,” the regulator said.
The case dates all the way back to 2013 when the Competition Commission launched an investigation into ZTE China, ZTE Hong Kong, ZTE South Africa and ZTE Mzansi for allegedly “allocating customers in the market for the supply of telecom equipment and network solutions in South Africa”.
“It had been alleged that in 2011, ZTE South Africa and ZTE Mzansi agreed to divide markets by allocating customers between themselves,” the commission said.
“The commission alleged that the parties agreed to divide the market in that ZTE Mzansi would distribute telecoms equipment and network solutions to public sector customers while ZTE South Africa would distribute similar products to private sector customers. The commission alleged that this contravened section (4)(1)(b)(ii) of the act.” — (c) 2021 NewsCentral Media