The New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) has abandoned plans to delist China’s three major mobile operators.
Outgoing President Donald Trump signed an executive order back that banned American organisations from investing in firms the government believes to have links to the Chinese military – including China Mobile, China Telecom and China Unicorn back in November.
Accordingly, the NYSE began the process of delisting the companies earlier this week. The listings are largely symbolic given that shares in all three are also traded on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange and US firms are only believed to have small stakes. Meanwhile, the companies only have limited interests outside their homeland.
However, the move angered Beijing, which has once again accused Washington of acting politically rather than in national security interests. It pledged to defend Chinese companies interests and hopes the two countries can work together to create certainty for investors.
“It is certainly not a wise move,” said the Chinese Security Regulatory Commission. “We hope that the U.S. side could show respect for the market and reverence for the rule of law, do more things that can benefit the order of global financial markets, the legitimate rights of investors, and the stability and development of global economy.”
However, the NYSE has now said that following a review, shares in the three companies will continue to be traded.
“In light of further consultation with relevant regulatory authorities … the [NYSE] announced today that [it] no longer intends to move forward with the delisting action,” it said.
Political and trade tensions between the US and China have intensified during Trump’s presidency. The two sides have exchanged tit-for-tat tariffs that have affected consumer electronics, while America has pressured its allies to follow its lead and ban the use of Huawei equipment in 5G networks.
The US government has also imposed sanctions that restrict Huawei’s access to American technologies and have threatened the company’s prospects in the global smartphone market. Huawei recently sold its Honor subsidiary as a result of these sanctions and its ambitions to become the world’s largest mobile phone manufacturer.
As part of these activities, US operators have also bene formally banned by the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) from providing services to China Telecom.
There is hope, however, that such tensions will ease when President-Elect Joe Biden assumes the White House later this month.