Chinese chipmaker SMIC removed from U.S. OTCQX Market



China's largest chipmaker Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation (SMIC) was removed from the OTCQX, a financial market for over-the-counter securities in the U.S., prior to market open on Monday.

The company was notified by OTC Markets Group, the market operator of OTCQX Market, that the company's American depositary shares (ADRs) have been removed from trading, according to a filing issued Sunday on the Hong Kong stock exchange.

It first got delisted on January 6, but was allowed to continue to trade until Monday in a reversal, as the OTCQX has "changed its position regarding the effective date of the Executive Order and are now permitting trading in the company's securities to continue until 1 February 2021."

The removal from the OTCQX is meant to comply with an executive order unveiled by the Trump administration in November banning U.S. investment in companies identified as "affiliated with the Chinese military."

The chipmaker announced on December 4 that it was added to the list of Chinese military companies by the U.S. Department of Defense and that U.S. persons will be restricted in their dealings in its traded securities or any securities that are derivative underlying such securities.

SMIC's shares began to trade on the OTCQX Market after it ended its 15-year listing in the New York Stock Exchange in May 2019, citing limited trading volumes and burdensome costs.

Listed in Hong Kong, the Shanghai-headquartered company made its trading debut on Shanghai's Nasdaq-style STAR Market in July, marking China's biggest IPO in a decade.

The chip industry is front and center in China-U.S. trade tensions. The SMIC has been under fire as Trump restricted dozens of Chinese companies citing alleged military ties, despite denials by companies and protests by Chinese officials.

The chipmaker decided to terminate the ADR program given its depositary receipts represented less than 0.3 percent of the company's total issued share capital and the participation is low, according to a separate filing. The termination will become effective March 4.