Qualcomm to finish 1st phase of Taiwan investment by end-2019: FTC

2018/08/11 21:27:23 fontsize-small fontsize-default fontsize-big
Qualcomm to finish 1st phase of Taiwan investment by end-2019: FTC

Taipei, Aug. 11 (CNA) U.S.-based chip designer Qualcomm Inc. will complete the first phase of a five-year US$700 million investment it pledged as part of an antitrust settlement with Taiwan by the end of next year, the Fair Trade Commission (FTC) said Saturday.

Speaking to CNA, FTC Commissioner Hung Tsai-lung (洪財隆) said Qualcomm has submitted key performance indicators to the commission that will be used to assess whether it is meeting first stage targets and its ability to complete the initial investment by the end of 2019.

Hung said Qualcomm will consult with the FTC as it pursues its investment plan in Taiwan.

But he declined to disclose any financial terms or other details on Qualcomm's first stage investment because the U.S. company and the FTC signed a non-disclosure agreement on the matter.

On Friday, the FTC and Qualcomm reached a settlement to resolve an antitrust dispute for a NT$2.73 billion (US$88.93 million) fine, sharply lower than the record NT$23.4 billion fine initially imposed by the commission in October 2017.

The settlement was reached at Taiwan's Intellectual Property Court, where Qualcomm filed an appeal against the FTC's heavy fine.

Following an investigation into Qualcomm launched in 2015, the FTC charged the U.S. tech giant of violating Taiwan's Fair Trade Act by taking advantage of its monopoly status.

The commission found that the U.S. company engaged in practices directly or indirectly to prevent other smartphone designers from competing in the Taiwan market for at least seven years, and imposed the heaviest fine in the FTC's history.

Qualcomm had paid NT$2.73 billion to the commission in several installments up to the time of the settlement.

According to the deal reached, Qualcomm agreed not to claim the money it has paid to the FTC and also committed to a five-year investment plan covering 5G collaboration, market expansion, startup and university collaborations, and the creation of an operational and manufacturing engineering center in Taiwan.

Qualcomm has promised to brief the FTC on the pledged investment process every six months, and the commission said it will have the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) and the Ministry of Science and Technology sit down with the company to work out investment details, Hung said.

Qualcomm is expected to release details of its investment step by step, Hung added.

The commission has been criticized for accepting such a deep cut in the fine, but Hung argued that the pledged US$700 million in investment will deliver far more benefits to the country's economic development than the uncollected portion of the fine.

Lo Ta-sheng (羅達生), head of the MOEA's Department of Industrial Technology, hailed the settlement Friday, saying the agreement is expected to offer Taiwan an opportunity to expand discussions on 5G development collaboration with Qualcomm, which controls many key 5G wireless network development technologies.

(By Liao Yu-yang and Frances Huang)
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