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ZTE Appoints Chairman in Another Step Toward Lifting of U.S. Ban

Signage is displayed atop a ZTE Corp. building in Beijing.

Signage is displayed atop a ZTE Corp. building in Beijing.

Photographer: Gilles Sabrie/Bloomberg

ZTE Corp. has appointed a new chairman from a state research outfit that backed its founding decades ago, taking another step toward cleaning house and freeing itself from a ban on American technology purchases.

Shareholders voted in Li Zixue, the 54-year-old deputy director of the Xi’an Microelectronics Technology Institute, as chairman, according to a Shenzhen stock exchange filing. The institute is a research unit of the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp., a key technology provider to the nation’s space and defense programs. The firm became the earliest investor in ZTE when then-employee Hou Weigui decided to set up a telecommunications equipment company in Shenzhen in 1985.