China’s three telecom operators demand NYSE review delisting decision on first day of Biden presidency
Published: Jan 21, 2021 11:05 AM

A China Mobile employee adjusts and tests 5G base station equipment at Tongling Railway Station in East China's Anhui Province on April 27. Photo: cnsphoto

China's three telecom operators - China Mobile, China Unicom and China Telecom - whose trading had been suspended from New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) since January 11 under Trump's executive order, announced they have made written requests on Wednesday (US time) to NYSE, demanding a committee under NYSE's board of directors to review the delisting decision.

The three telecom operators requested the committee to overturn the delisting, and to suspend the trading halt before the committee reviews the request, according to the statements they sent to Hong Kong bourse on Thursday.

Wednesday marks the first day of US President Joe Biden's term in office. According to NYSE's listed company manual, the review shall begin within at least 25 working days following the request being submitted.

The three companies' Hong Kong-listed stocks opened higher on Thursday. China Telecom soared by 0.92 percent, while China Telecom and China Unicom gained 0.8 percent and 1.72 percent, respectively.

All of the three firms stressed in the statements that they have strictly abided by local laws, market regulations and the supervision requirements since they have been listed on the exchange. China Unicom and China Telecom noted that they will "follow closely on the development of relevant matters, and seek professional advice while reserving all rights to protect their legitimate interests."

China Mobile said that it will consider different plans and seek professional advises to protect the legitimate interests of the company and its shareholders.

Trading by the three companies in the US has been halted from January 11, after NYSE made two U-turns on the matter to follow an executive order former US president Donald Trump signed in November that bars Americans from investing in companies which they claimed to have "Chinese military links."

The move was widely seen as Trump final shot at China during the final days of his presidency, to further stir up tensions between the world's two largest economies.

Dong Dengxin, director of the Financial Securities Institute at Wuhan University of Science and Technology, told the Global Times on Thursday there is a chance that the three companies would be relisted on the US stock market after the review, as there is an "obvious policy departure" from the Biden administration to that of Trump's.

In one of his first acts in the Oval Office, Biden signed an executive order to facilitate the US rejoining the Paris climate agreement, from which Trump withdrew in 2017. Biden also walked back the former administration's plan to withdraw the US from the World Health Organization.

"Trump has been deliberately setting barriers for Biden in his final days, including escalating tensions on China-US relations. Biden is clear-headed and will make restoring order a priority," Dong said. He noted that the trend of politicization in the US financial market would not last long. 

NYSE announced on December 31 that it would move to delist the three Chinese telecom companies. Then the flip-flop began. It announced on January 5 that it reversed the decision after consulting with relevant regulators, but then on January 6, the NYSE reinstated their initial decision after a reported call from former US treasury secretary Steve Mnuchin.

Global Times