In an unexpected turn, the New York Stock Exchange said Monday that it no longer intends to delist China’s three major telecoms operators, a decision that was originally announced on December 31.
The initial action targeted China Mobile, China Unicom and China Telecom as part of the Trump administration’s move to bar investment in companies deemed to supply and support China’s military, intelligence and security services.
The current blacklist names 35 companies, including the parent organizations of the three listed telecoms firms as well as Huawei and China’s major chipmaker SMIC.
The reversal was made “in light of further consultation with relevant regulatory authorities,” said the exchange. The companies will continue to be listed and traded on the NYSE while the exchange continues to evaluate how the executive order applies to them and their listing status, according to the announcement.
The delisting of the three telecom giants, which have been trading on NYSE for about two decades, was seen by some experts as merely symbolic. The trading volumes of these firms in New York are only a small percentage of their total tradable shares, thus the impact of the potential delisting “would be rather limited on the companies’ growth and general market performance,” said the China Securities Regulatory Commission in a statement issued on Sunday.
“The recent move by some political forces in the U.S. to continuously and groundlessly suppress foreign companies listed on the U.S. markets, even at the cost of undermining its own position in the global capital markets, has demonstrated that U.S. rules and institutions can become arbitrary, reckless and unpredictable,” the Chinese exchange authority said.
“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 the global economy.”
In recent times, a number of Chinese companies trading in the U.S. have opted for secondary listings in Hong Kong. Alibaba, JD.com and NetEase have debuted in Hong Kong and more tech companies are reportedly weighing their homecoming. Chinese tech bosses are wary of the U.S. government’s potential clampdown, but they also hope to replicate Alibaba’s success in Hong Kong and see funding opportunities in China’s new Nasdaq-style board, which was introduced in 2019 in part to lure its tech darlings home.