Before China, Taiwan used to be a world-factory. Taiwan’s technical companies always focus on improving their progress on product. The past 20 years, Taiwan's technological competitiveness is becoming increasingly improving. Taiwan's Information and Communication (ICT) industry plays a significant role in the international market. Goods from Taiwan export to the United States and Europe region are increasing a lot. However, Taiwan’s companies facing patent infringement litigation, as well as facing antitrust law investigation become more often, especially in LCD panel industry. Here are some statistics provide us to discuss how much would it cost due to antitrust law investigation. During last five years, four Taiwan’s LCD companies paid totally 375 million dollars penalty to the U.S and 435 million Euros penalty to Europe region. Moreover, in the past two years, four LCD companies do not earn profit in their business because of bad economic situation. Therefore, it is worse that they have to pay a huge fine. These facts give me some room to discuss ethical issues. Are there different ethics between two countries? Why the firm is doing well in Taiwan but being charged antitrust in the U.S? How can two corporates compete if they have distinctly divergent ethics? I will argue the issue from some points of view related to ethical standards. First, I would like to introduce more about this event. Event
AUO and the TFT-LCD Investigation
The AUO trial was part of a long-running antitrust investigation into the TFT-LCD industry. AUO is a Taiwanese company that has become one of the world's leading manufacturers of TFT-LCD panels, which are the screens that are inserted into flat-screen monitors and displays, among other things. These finished products are then sold in the United States and around the world. Over the last decade, AUO has become one of Taiwan's largest companies. AUO's website reports that AUO currently employs over 43,000 people worldwide and, in 2011, the company earned $12.5 billion in total sales revenue. AUO America is a wholly owned subsidiary of AUO and is incorporated in California, but based in Texas. AUO America provides sales support for AUO and its customers in the United States. The Antitrust Division's TFT-LCD investigation focused on many of the world's leading panel makers, including AUO, Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., LG Display Co. Ltd., Sharp Corp., Chunghwa Picture Tubes Ltd., Chi Mei Optoelectronics and HannStar Display Corp.. According to the Antitrust Division's trial memorandum, Samsung triggered the investigation in 2006 by informing the DOJ about the price-fixing conspiracy. Samsung was granted conditional leniency. Over the course of the investigation, the Antitrust Division netted massive fines and lengthy jail terms for members of the alleged conspiracy. For example, the DOJ's trial memorandum and contemporaneous press releases revealed that, in late 2008, LG Philips, Sharp and Chunghwa all agreed to plead guilty and to pay a total of $585 million in fines. An LG executive and three Chunghwa executives later agreed to plead guilty, to serve prison sentences ranging from six to nine months and to pay at total of $125,000 in fines. In December 2009, Chi Mei agreed to plead guilty, pay $220 million in fines, and cooperate with the Antitrust Division's investigation. In April 2010, two Chi Mei executives agreed to plead guilty, serve eight and 14 months in prison respectively, pay a total of $75,000 in fines, and assist the DOJ with its investigation. In June 2010, HannStar agreed to plead guilty and to pay a $30 million fine. AUO Chooses to Fight
All others pleaded guilty to participating in a conspiracy to fix prices between 2001 and 2006. They have paid hefty fines with some of their executives jailed in the United States. AUO is the only one fighting on. The Antitrust Division had alleged...