China’s ‘home appliance queen’ Dong Mingzhu breached information disclosure rules, CSRC says

05-Feb-2019 Intellasia | South China Morning Post | 6:00 AM Print This Post

Gree Electric Appliances chairwoman Dong Mingzhu, known as the mainland’s “home appliances queen”, has been warned by the securities regulator for information disclosure violations.

The Guangzhou branch of the China Securities Regulatory Commission said Dong was found to have breached the rules about disclosure of company performance during a special shareholders’ meeting on January 16, according to a statement issued by the regulator on Friday evening.

“You should draw lessons from the mistake and make studies on securities laws and rules to comply with information disclosure requirements,” the statement said. “We hope such violation will not happen again in future.”

Dong announced Gree’s preliminary sales and earnings figures for 2018 at the shareholders’ meeting, hours before the company filed a statement to the Shenzhen Stock Exchange that contained the same information.

Mainland securities rules stipulate that listed companies must not disclose important information before making a public announcement in the designated media.

Dong, 64, the mainland’s most prominent female entrepreneur, was re-elected chairwoman of Gree at the meeting after months of speculation about her new role.

In China, the retirement age is set at 60, but staff above that age can continue to work if they are allowed to by their employers.

The regulator said Dong could appeal to the courts within six months of the notice. Executives at public firms can face punishments if found to have violated information disclosure rules.

In some instances, the CSRC can bar individuals from taking up a board position or order a senior executive to step down from a management role.

China’s home appliances queen Dong Mingzhu stays on as chairwoman of air-con maker Gree

“The regulator is tightening supervision on information to protect small investors’ interest,” said Ivan Li, an asset manager with Loyal Wealth Management.

“In punishing big company bosses like Dong, the regulator hopes other senior managers with mainland-listed companies will learn how to comply with information disclosure rules.”

The disclosure did not affect trading in Gree’s shares in Shenzhen because the market was closed at the time, according to local media reports which cited Gree’s board secretary Wang Jingdong.

Dong is well known for her straight-talking style.

In 2014, she labelled smartphone maker Xiaomi Corporation and rival appliance maker Midea Group “thieves” after a court case in which Midea was found guilty of using Gree’s patents for its air conditioners.

In 2015, Fortune magazine ranked her as the fourth most powerful woman in Asia-Pacific. Gree is the country’s largest air-conditioner maker.


Category: China

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