Chinese antitrust watchdog, State Administration of Market Supervision (SAMR), announced Tuesday it has started investigating price gouging in the automotive chip market.

The regulatory body promised to strengthen supervision and punish illegal acts such as hoarding, price hikes and collusive price increases. SAMR singled out distributors as the object of its ire.

In the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, prices for items such as hand sanitizer, face masks, toilet paper and other health-related items saw startling inflation that required legal intervention.

As the pandemic wore on and work from home kit became a necessity, the world saw a new kind of shortages: semiconductors.

The automotive industry was hit particularly hard by the shortage, largely…

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