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China targets telecom reform, merger plans remain unconfirmed

Updated: Nov 5,2015 4:45 PM     Xinhua

BEIJING — China’s industry regulator will continue studying reforms in the telecom sector to figure out the next step, but has not taken any action toward the reported consolidation of telecom companies, a Ministry of Industry and Information Technology spokesman said.

“The development of a company is decided by the market,” spokesman Zheng Feng said during a press conference, refusing to elaborate on the topic.

His remarks came after media reports that the government is considering pushing forward mergers for the country’s three state-owned telecom service providers to improve efficiency and accelerate modernization of the information sector.

Although the reports still lack official confirmation, related companies listed in the A-share market have started to react. China Unicom, one of the telecom giants, hit the 10-percent daily growth cap during morning trade.

The three operators, China Mobile, China Unicom and China Telecom, exchanged executives in August, the first such adjustment in a decade.

The companies posted combined profits of 110 billion yuan (around $17 billion) in the first three quarters of the year.

China will promote reforms in the telecom sector and further open it to private investors in the next five years, according to proposals released by the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China on formulating the 13th five-year plan (2016-2020) for national economic and social development.

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