Chinese government launches Ericsson antitrust investigation

Ericsson has received a surprise visit from Chinese regulators who've launched an antitrust investigation against the Swedish vendor.

China's market regulator launched the investigation over alleged complaints against Ericsson’s intellectual property licensing practices.

An Ericsson spokesperson said:

“Ericsson will cooperate fully with this investigation.

We license our industry-leading patents portfolio on FRAND (fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory) terms and conditions and have always been committed to these FRAND principles.”

The impromptu visit was conducted amid increasing global tensions over China's incumbent telecoms vendor Huawei.

Concerns about Huawei's alleged links with Beijing have been led by the US which claims the telecoms giant poses a national security threat to it and its allies.

Earlier this year, Huawei's CFO Meng Wanzhou was arrested in Canada on a US warrant for pretending a subsidiary called Skycom was not related to Huawei in order to flout sanctions against Iran. Beijing called for Wanzhou’s immediate release and threatened Canada with ‘serious consequences’ if not.

Roland Paris, a former foreign policy adviser to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, had a strong rebuke:

“Perhaps because the Chinese state controls its judicial system, Beijing sometimes has difficulty understanding or believing that courts can be independent in a rule-of-law country.

There’s no point in pressuring the Canadian government. Judges will decide.”

As of 2018, Ericsson dethroned Huawei as the world's largest telecoms infrastructure provider. Ericsson took the crown for the first time in two years as its global market share rose 2.4 percentage points to 29 percent, according to IHS Markit. Huawei, meanwhile, fell 1.9 points to 26 percent.

The antitrust investigation launched against Ericsson is believed to be the first against a foreign telecoms company in China since the case against US chipmaker Qualcomm.

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