China Mobile Communications Removes Guangdong Unit Head

China Mobile Communications Corp., the state-owned parent of the world’s largest phone company by users, removed the head of its Guangdong unit who is under investigation.

Xu Long was removed as general manager, chairman, and Communist Party Secretary for the carrier’s Guangdong unit amid a probe of “a serious violation of discipline,” China Mobile Communications said in an e-mail today from spokesman Zhang Xuan. Xu is under investigation by “the relevant departments” Zhang said, without supplying details.

China began a corruption probe of more than 60 executives at the nation’s three wireless carriers in June 2011, the official Xinhua news agency reported at the time. That probe, involving 350 million yuan ($57 million) of illegal funds, led the operators to adjust their business policies “to reduce the corruption risk,” Xinhua said.

Zhang’s e-mail didn’t say if the investigation of Xu was connected to the 2011 probe, and contact details for Xu couldn’t immediately be located.

Xu had resigned as an executive director of the Hong Kong-listed China Mobile Ltd. on Dec. 14, according to the company’s annual report.

Shares of China Mobile rose 0.3 percent to HK$84.15 at 11:15 a.m. in Hong Kong trading. The shares have declined 6.8 percent so far this year, exceeding the 1.2 percent drop in the benchmark Hang Seng Index.

China Mobile Communications is a state-owned entity that is the controlling shareholder of China Mobile through a 74 percent stake.

— With assistance by Edmond Lococo

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