'Change at the top' for China Mobile


Wang Jianzhou, chairman of China Mobile Communications Corp, said he enjoyed every day of the past three decades that he spent in the telecom industry and saw the changes in people's lives resulting from technological innovations.

The work of leading the world's biggest telecom carrier has kept him busy. Wang said he was bad at sports and seldom exercises. When reporters asked him what he'd do after his retirement, he said he had no idea. Obviously, he thinks little about a life without work.

Nonetheless, the 63-year-old Wang said last week in Hong Kong that he was ready for retirement within the year.

The Chinese financial website caixin.com reported on Wednesday that Wang is going to step down on Thursday, and Xi Guohua, Party secretary and vice-chairman of China Mobile, will assume Wang's position.

An official from China Mobile's media relations department, who declined to be identified, said the announcement of Wang's retirement would be released very soon.

Wang took the helm of China Mobile in 2004. In that year, the revenue of China Mobile Ltd was 192.4 billion yuan ($30.4 billion) and its net profit was 42 billion yuan.

Revenue reached 528 billon yuan in 2011, while net profit was 125.9 billion yuan.

During the same period, China Mobile's subscriber base grew to about 650 million in 2011 from 204 million in 2004.

The company started to provide third-generation wireless network services in 2009 and had more than 51 million 3G service users, or about 40 percent of China's 3G market, by the end of 2011, the most among the three Chinese operators.

However, the company also faced challenges and problems. Though its net profit rose 5.2 percent in 2011 and 3.9 percent in 2010, its growth slowed from previous years, when a surge in subscriptions led to double-digit profit increases.

Huang Meng, a telecom analyst with the Beijing-based research firm Analysys International, said that as the number of China's mobile users approaches 1 billion, the market is getting saturated.

Analysts said Wang, who can speak fluent English, has delivered the goods. China Mobile experienced its "most glorious period" in the past seven years, and its brand image was greatly improved by Wang's amiableness and openness to partners, investors and the media, they said.


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