NYSE will have three less stocks to deal in. But removal of China Mobile, China Telecom Corp, China Unicom Hong Kong won't have a material impact on trading volumes. Image Credit: AP

New York: The New York Stock Exchange said it will delist three Chinese corporations to comply with a US executive order that imposed restrictions on companies identified as affiliated with the Chinese military. China Mobile, China Telecom Corp, China Unicom Hong Kong will be suspended from trading between January 7 and January 11, and proceedings to delist them have started.

Quantitative hedge fund managers including Renaissance Technologies, Dimensional Fund Advisors LP and Two Sigma Investments LP were among the largest holders in these US listings but the stakes they held at the end of September were small, filings show.

The three Chinese companies have separate listings in Hong Kong. All generate the entirety of their revenue in China and have no meaningful presence in the US except for their listings there. Their shares are also thinly traded on the New York Stock Exchange compared to their primary listings in Hong Kong, making this NYSE delisting more of a symbolic blow amid heightened geopolitical friction between the US and China.

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Quite specific

President Donald Trump signed an order in November barring American investments in Chinese firms owned or controlled by the military, in a bid to pressure Beijing over what it views as abusive business practices. The order prohibited US investors from buying and selling shares in a list of Chinese companies designated by the Pentagon as having military ties.

No dilution

The Chinese Foreign Ministry later accused the US of "viciously slandering" its military-civilian integration policies and vowed to protect the country's companies. Chinese officials have also threatened to respond to previous Trump administration actions with their own blacklist of US companies.

The executive order has resulted in a series of companies being removed from indexes compiled by MSCI Inc., S&P Dow Jones Global Indices and FTSE Russell.

The US Federal Communications Commission in May barred China Mobile from operating in the US. In December, it ordered carriers to remove equipment made by Huawei Technologies Co., and begun looking into whether China Telecom should be allowed to operate in the country.

China Telecom's US unit told the FCC in a June 8 filing that it's an independent business based in the US and not subject to Chinese government control.

Red carpet treatment

Global exchanges, including NYSE and Nasdaq Inc., courted Chinese companies during the past decade as they attempted to expand their IPO business, particularly in the internet sector. In response, Hong Kong Exchanges & Clearing Ltd. changed its rules in recent years to lure back listings, including allowing share sales by companies with weighted voting rights - strengthening the power of company founders at the expense of weaker protections for minority investors.

Companies including e-commerce giants Alibaba Group Holding and JD.Com Inc., which already had listings in New York, conducted secondary listings in Hong Kong in the past two years as tensions between the US and China intensified on a range of issues including trade and the coronavirus.