World China Mobile makes Shanghai debut after US exit

07:12  05 january  2022
07:12  05 january  2022 Source:   bbc.com

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China Mobile shares have risen as they started trading in Shanghai after raising $7.7bn (£5.7bn) in China's biggest public offering in a decade.

  China Mobile makes Shanghai debut after US exit © Getty Images

The shares opened 9.4% higher before easing back in morning trade.

China Mobile's smaller rivals, China Telecom and China Unicom, have already made the move to their home country.

The three firms were delisted from the New York Stock Exchange after a Trump-era decision to restrict investment in Chinese technology companies.

China Mobile's Hong Kong-listed shares also rose in early trade after the company said it would press ahead with a plan to buy back up to 2.05 billion shares, worth nearly $13bn.

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Nina Xiang, the author of US-China Tech War, told the BBC that the Chinese government would have made sure that China Mobile's Shanghai debut went well.

She said: "It's important for Beijing to ensure this listing appears successful and smooth to prove that China has the wherewithal to accommodate its own companies on its own stock exchanges.

"But it won't be great for Chinese companies to lose the access to the US capital markets as it will be another step in the downward spiral of deteriorating bilateral relations," she added.

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The policy introduced by the Trump administration to clamp down on investments in Chinese technology firms has remained in place under President Joe Biden as tensions continue between Washington and Beijing.

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Ms Xiang also highlighted that more US-listed Chinese firms may take similar steps to safeguard their share listings: "There are dozens of Chinese companies listed on US exchanges that might seek a listing in Hong Kong this year to secure their shares remain publicly traded, in case the two countries couldn't reach a solution for Chinese firms to remain listed in the US."

The company has said it plans to use the cash raised from the offering to develop projects including premium 5G networks, infrastructure for cloud resources and artificial intelligence software.

China Mobile is the world's largest mobile network operator by total subscribers.

Last month, Chinese ride-hailing giant Didi Global has announced plans to take its shares off the New York Stock Exchange and move its listing to Hong Kong.

The firm had come under intense pressure since it raised $4.4bn in its US debut at the end of June.

Also, within days of the New York initial public offering Beijing announced a crackdown on technology companies listing overseas.

Didi shares have lost almost 65% of their value since their US market debut.

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