China Telecom chairman Yang Jie moves across to lead China Mobile

05 March 2019 | Alan Burkitt-Gray

Cover

The chairman and CEO of China Telecom, Yang Jie, has become chairman of China Mobile instead.

His first day in the new role was yesterday, immediately after he resigned from his position of China Telecom.

Yang (pictured) said there was no disagreement with the board of China Telecom, The move appears to have been amicable – aided by the fact that the Chinese state is a controlling shareholder in both companies.

Yang takes over from Shang Bing, who has retired from China Mobile. But he will not be CEO of the company, which is the biggest mobile operator in the world: that position remains with Li Yue.

Such company-to-company moves at senior levels are common in the Chinese telecoms industry. Last decade Wang Jianzhou moved from China Unicom, where he was CEO, to China Mobile, where he became chairman and CEO. The current chairman and CEO of China Unicom, the unrelated Wang Xiaochu, used to be with China Mobile.

And Shang, the retiring chairman of China Mobile, spent time in both China Unicom and China Telecom, and worked in the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.

As in most large Chinese organisations, senior executives also have a role in the local branch of the Communist Party of China (CPC). Yang was chairman and secretary of the party group in China Telecom, and was a delegate at the 2017 congress of the CPC, where he said China accounted then for 40% of the world’s 4G users.