Manufacturers were fined a total of 19 million yuan ($3.1 million) for setting minimum prices for retailers and limiting their ability to offer discounts, the Cabinet's planning agency said Thursday.
Other companies fined included Essilor International SA of France, Germany's Car Zeiss AG, Hoya Corp. and Bausch + Lomb, owned by Canada's Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc. One Chinese company was fined, Shanghai Weicon Optics Co.
Setting minimum prices is common in some markets to help companies maintain an image as a premium brand. But lawyers say Chinese regulators appear to regard such limits on distributors as illegal.
In August, six suppliers of baby formula were fined a total of $109 million on similar charges.
Investigators have targeted contracts that set minimum retail prices as prohibited "vertical price-fixing" under China's 2008 anti-monopoly law. Most targets so far have been foreign-owned.
The latest investigation began in August after a complaint from the public, the National Development and Reform Commission said.
"Findings showed that some manufacturers had exerted price control on distributors and retailers, which violates anti-monopoly laws," the agency said on its website.
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