China Mobile Ltd., China Telecom Corp Ltd., China Unicom Hong Kong Ltd. will be suspended from trading between Jan. 7 and Jan. 11, and proceedings to delist them have started, according to a statement by the exchange.
In response, China's Ministry of Commerce said on Jan. 2 that the country will adopt necessary actions to protect the rights of Chinese companies and hopes the two countries can work together to create a fair, predicable environment for businesses and investors.
Quantitative hedge fund managers including Renaissance Technologies, Dimensional Fund Advisors and Two Sigma Investments were among the largest holders in these U.S. listings but the stakes they held at the end of September were small, 13F filings show.
The three Chinese companies have separate listings in Hong Kong. All generate the entirety of their revenue in China and have no meaningful presence in the U.S. except for their listings there. Their shares are also thinly traded on the New York Stock Exchange compared to their primary listings in Hong Kong, making this NYSE delisting more of a symbolic blow amid heightened geopolitical friction between the U.S. and China.
President Donald Trump signed an order in November barring American investments in Chinese firms owned or controlled by the military, in a bid to pressure Beijing over what it views as abusive business practices. The order prohibited U.S. investors from buying and selling shares in a list of Chinese companies designated by the Pentagon as having military ties.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry later accused the U.S. of "viciously slandering" its military-civilian integration policies and vowed to protect the country's companies. Chinese officials have also threatened to respond to previous Trump administration actions with their own blacklist of U.S. companies.
The executive order has resulted in a series of companies being removed from indexes compiled by MSCI Inc., S&P Dow Jones Global Indices and FTSE Russell.
The U.S. Federal Communications Commission in May barred China Mobile from operating in the U.S. In December, it ordered carriers to remove equipment made by Huawei Technologies Co., and begun looking into whether China Telecom should be allowed to operate in the country. China Telecom's U.S. unit told the FCC in a June 8 filing that it's an independent business based in the U.S. and not subject to Chinese government control.
Global exchanges, including NYSE and Nasdaq Inc., courted Chinese companies during the past decade as they attempted to expand their IPO business, particularly in the internet sector. In response, Hong Kong Exchanges & Clearing Ltd. changed its rules in recent years to lure back listings, including allowing share sales by companies with weighted voting rights -- strengthening the power of company founders at the expense of weaker protections for minority investors.
Companies including e-commerce giants Alibaba Group Holding and JD.Com, which already had listings in New York, conducted secondary listings in Hong Kong in the past two years as tensions between the U.S. and China intensified on a range of issues including trade and the novel coronavirus.
Published : January 04, 2021
By : Syndication Washington Post, Bloomberg · Max Zimmerman, Gregor Stuart Hunter · BUSINESS, US-GLOBAL-MARKETS