The Fair Trade Commission (FTC) yesterday said in a statement that it had initiated an investigation to determine whether the 7-Eleven convenience store chain had abused its power by delaying placing Chinese-language Business Weekly (商業週刊) on its shelves.
Kuo Yi-ling (郭弈伶), editor-in-chief of the Business Weekly, on Thursday issued a statement accusing President Chain Store Corp (統一超商), which runs the nation’s largest convenience store chain, of boycotting the magazine after its latest issue included a story on the company’s management reshuffle.
President Chain attributed the problem to a logistical delay, but Business Weekly said it was not convinced.
The commission said it would examine whether President Chain had hindered competition in the magazine industry. If so, the commission would order the chain store to rectify its behavior and subject it to a maximum fine of NT$250 million (US$8.59 million).
Otherwise, the FTC said it would classify the incident as a breach of contract, which could be solved by a civil trial or another method deemed appropriate by both sides.
Chain stores are a major retail channel. Under the Fair Trade Act (公平交易法), any action to remove a product from the stores’ shelves, without a legitimate reason, can be viewed as a violation of the law for hindering competition in a certain market.