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Monday, December 28, 2015, 08:12

Chairman of China Telecom probed for corruption

By Ma Si
Chairman of China Telecom probed for corruption
Then c hairman and CEO of China Unicom Chang Xiaobing attends a press conference to announce the company's 2013 interim results in Hong Kong on August 8, 2013. (Photo / AFP)

Chang Xiaobing, the chairman of China Telecommunications Corp, the country's third-largest telecom carrier, is under investigation for suspected serious disciplinary violations - often a reference to corruption-related crimes.

He is the highest-ranking official from the telecom sector to date to be investigated under the anti-graft campaign.

Chang's investigation was announced on Sunday by the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, the top anti-graft watchdog.

He took the helm of the State-owned company in August after heading China United Network Communications Group, the country's second-largest carrier, for 11 years.

Experts said the investigation of Chang has much to do with his tenure at China Unicom, where he masterminded the company's efforts to develop third-generation communication networks.

In November last year, two senior executives from China Unicom were investigated for suspected violations of laws and regulations.

Xiang Ligang, founder of the telecom industry website cctime.com, saidthe investigation of Chang will have a limited impact on China Telecom's business.

"Chang arrived at China Telecom in August and has hardly announced any company strategies and concrete plans yet. So his case will not affect the company's efforts to roll out 4G networks," he said, adding that China Telecom's "stable" internal systems can keep daily operations in order.

The investigation comes amid rising market speculation about a possible merger between China Telecom and China Unicom, which are joining hands to compete against China Mobile Communications Corp, the country's largest carrier by subscribers.

Earlier this month, China Telecom and China Unicom called for the standardization of smartphone technologies shortly after signing a deal in October to jointly construct 4G base stations and share 4G resources.

Fu Liang, a freelance industry expert, said the Chang probe will push China Unicom and China Telecom toward deeper cooperation. "No matter who the new head of China Telecom is, he or she will want to have broader cooperation with China Unicom. This is the only way for the two players to win over China Mobile."

As of November, China Mobile had built more than 1 million 4G base stations and had about 267 million 4G users-more than China Telecom and China Unicom combined.

masi@chinadaily.com.cn

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