Established in 2002, China Telecom is a majority state-owned telecommunications service operator. At the end of 2020, China Telecom was one of the world’s largest mobile and broadband operators with 350 million mobile subscribers and 158 million broadband subscribers. The company is the largest data centre operator in China, with more than 450 sites. Most of its users are in the People’s Republic of China, though it also serves 41 countries through its international network providing service to other international carriers, multinational enterprises and overseas Chinese customers.
There is an opportunity for China Telecom to support initiatives that contribute to digital opportunities for women and girls and increase accessibility for people with disabilities. The company can also report on how the economic value it generates is distributed among its stakeholders.
Little evidence was found in reference to China Telecom’s support for open, sustainable, inclusive and ethical innovation. The company has an opportunity to demonstrate how it practises open innovation and supports technology innovation ecosystems. It can also show how it collaborates on big data for sustainable development and applies ethical considerations in research and development activities.
Core social indicators
The core social indicators assess societal expectations of business conduct that companies should meet if they aspire to be part of a system transformation that leaves no one behind.
China Telecom does not commit to respect human rights, in a public policy statement. Furthermore, it does not commit to respect all the labour fundamentals outlined by the ILO core labour rights, including freedom of association and collective bargaining. Moreover, the company does not disclose a process to identify, assess, and take action on salient human rights risks its own operations and business relationships. While China Telecom has a grievance mechanism, which is accessible to both workers and external stakeholders to raise human rights concerns and complaints, it is unclear if complainants are able to choose to identify themselves or remain anonymous.
China Telecom publicly commits to respecting the health and safety of its own workers, but does not require its business relationships to commit to respecting health and safety. Furthermore, the company lacks disclosure in reference to labour fundamentals. For example, the company is not explicit in stating that it does not require workers to work more than regular and overtime hours, and provides no relevant evidence in relation to paying its workers a living wage. China Telecom provides a breakdown of employees in different employee categories by age and gender, but does not disclose against any other indicators of diversity per employee category.
China Telecom states that it prohibits bribery and corruption in its Annual Report, but it does not disclose this prohibition in a formal, publicly available, policy statement. It also has a grievance mechanism for stakeholders to raise bribery and corruption concerns and complaints. The company does not disclose any information in relation to tax, such as a global tax strategy or income tax payments for its individual tax jurisdictions. Finally, China Telecom does not disclose its approach to lobbying and political engagement. Specifically, the company has no public statement indicating that it does not make political contributions, and it does not disclose its lobbying expenditures.
Publicly listed, of which 85.6% is owned by state-owned China Telecom Group and 8.4% is owned by Guangdong Rising Assets Management Co., Ltd., a state-owned enterprise owned by the provincial governments in Guangdong Province