China Telecom chairman Chang Xiaobing under investigation

China Telecom chairman Chang Xiaobing Image copyright AFP
Image caption Chang Xiaobing became the chairman of China Telecom in August after serving as the chairman of rival China Unicom for 11 years

The chairman of one of China's largest state-owned mobile operators, China Telecom, is being investigated by the country's anti-corruption watchdog.

Chang Xiaobing is "suspected of serious violation of discipline", according to a statement on the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection website.

The executive was reported missing by local media on Sunday.

He is the latest in a series of high-profile executives to become embroiled in Beijing's crackdown on corruption.

The government's ongoing anti-corruption drive resulted in more than 70 senior officials at state firms being investigated in 2014.

Top Chinese executives investigated

  • Jiang Jiemin, former chairman of leading energy group China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) jailed for 16 years in October for graft
  • Xu Jianyi, former chairman of top automaker China FAW Group expelled from the ruling Communist Party in August for embezzling funds and taking bribes
  • Shen Hao, former president of financial media group 21st Century jailed for four years last week for extortion and blackmail
  • Cheng Boming, president of China's largest brokerage, CITIC Securities, under investigation in September for alleged trading on insider information

Little information was given on the investigation involving Mr Chang, but the statement mentioned his position as the former chairman of the country's second-largest mobile operator China Unicom.

The 58-year-old became the chairman at China Telecom in August. Earlier this year, there were reports that the government was considering merging the two telecom giants.

Government scrutiny of the top firms in the world's second largest economy has spread beyond state-owned enterprises.

Earlier this month, Guo Guangchang, the chairman of one of China's largest private conglomerates Fosun International, was also reported to have gone missing, which eventually led the firm to announce that he was helping with a police investigation. He reappeared in public a few days later.

Correspondents say that Beijing's crackdown on corruption is partly about using high profile cases to prove the government is serious about tackling corruption.

But many suspect that the downfall of some executives and other investigations can also be attributed to ongoing political infighting and an attempt to pressure high profile figures to toe the party line.

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