A group of instant noodle makers in China has been found guilty of colluding to raise prices by 20%.

China’s top economic planner, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), said the Chinese branch of the International Ramen Manufacturers Association (Irma) had illegally raised prices by an average of 20% since 1 June.

The NRDC said the IRMA had planned the move over three meetings held since last December.

The group, whose members include China’s leading noodle maker Jin Mai Lang and Taiwanese brand Master Kong, had publicly announced its latest price rise in July, causing panic buying in several cities.

Noodles priced at CNY1.5 (US$0.20) are now selling for CNY1.7, while low-end products have climbed from CNY0.5 to CNY0.7 per pack.

The NDRC has demanded the noodle makers cancel the price rises. Officials at the commission could not be reached for immediate comment.

State television reported yesterday (16 August) that IRMA has admitted to violating the law and has apologised to its customers.