South Korea's antitrust watchdog plans to launch an investigation into consumers' complaints about the overpriced auto parts used in imported foreign vehicles, its top official has said.
"Consumers' complaints are growing over excessive repair costs of imported vehicles... We are going to look into auto part prices of imported cars in September and October," Noh Dae-lae, head of the Fair Trade Commission (FTC), told reporters during a meeting Thursday. His remarks were embargoed until Sunday.
He said that the land and transportation ministry recently ordered the disclosure of prices of all auto parts used in vehicles, but consumers still find it difficult to track down or compare the prices.
"The government is not in a position to order this or that regarding auto part prices, but (we) will at least make it possible for consumers to see those prices and make their own decisions," Noh added.
He also confirmed that the FTC is looking into Kakao Corp., the operator of the country's most-used mobile messenger service, Kakao Talk, for its possible abuse of market power in deals with smaller suppliers.
"It could run counter to competition laws if (Kakao) exploits competitors or blocks the entry of other companies by using its market leading power in new business areas," he said.
The messenger service commands 37 million users in South Korea, almost 80 percent of the country's 50 million people.
On Wednesday, shareholders of Kakao and Daum Communications Corp., the country's No. 2 Internet portal operator, approved a merger of the two firms that will create one of the biggest tech companies in Korea.
Noh said that the FTC will also look into whether the merger violates any fair trade laws. (Yonhap)