BEIJING - China's top price regulator announced on Friday that Unilever (China) Co Ltd would face a fine of 2 million yuan ($303,000) over statements that led to price hikes for Chinese consumer goods.
The fine, handed down by the Shanghai municipal pricing authority, came amid China's efforts to nail down inflation that has spiked prices across the country.
Unilever China made remarks that led to the rush buying of consumer goods in some Chinese cities, according to a statement posted on the website of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), China's top economic planner and price regulator.
The NDRC statement said that Unilever purposely spread misinformation which caused consumers to expect massive price increases. This caused sales of Unilever products to soar, with some supermarkets reporting sales of Unilever products ten times what they would normally be.
"Such moves have severely disrupted the market order," said the statement.
The NDRC said the fine was handed down according to China's pricing laws and regulations.
Unilever, the world's second-largest consumer goods producer, has postponed price increases previously scheduled to begin on April 1 this year after the NDRC asked Unilever China's managers to explain the company's remarks.