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Report: Chinese regulator monitoring rising prices of storage chips

China's National Development and Reform Commission, or NDRC, is keeping a close eye on the rising prices of mobile phone storage chips and the possibility of price fixing by major chipmakers, China Daily reported.

"We have noticed the price surge and will pay more attention to future problems that may be caused by 'price fixing' in the sector," Xu Xinyu, an official with the NDRC's pricing supervision department reportedly said.

Price fixing is a coordinated action by companies to push product prices as high as possible.

The NDRC has got in touch with Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., the world's largest storage chip manufacturer, but is yet to initiate an official antitrust review of the firm, China Daily reported, citing Wang Yanhui, secretary general of industry association Mobile China Alliance, who the paper said had knowledge of the matter. Wang added that it was premature to tell what measures the government could take against the company, but it could consider penalties imposed by other countries if Samsung is found to be involved in price fixing.

The U.S. fined Samsung $300 million in 2005 for engaging in an international effort to fix prices.

Mobile phone manufacturers complained to the NDRC about rising prices of storage chips and its impact earlier in the year, according to the China Daily report.

Tight supply and mounting demand for memory chips has pushed up prices and profits at chip makers such as Samsung and SK Hynix Inc., Reuters reported.