Skip to content

Chinese mobile phone giant pulling out of Canada amid security concerns

The state-owned China Mobile International (CMI) will cease operation in Canada due to fears expressed by the federal government
China Mobile is reportedly winding up its Canadian operations after the federal government ordered its closure

One of China’s biggest state-owned, mobile phone networks appears to be pulling out of Canada, on the back of a federal government court order which centred on security concerns.

China Mobile International (CMI) announced on its website on Tuesday that it would be ceasing operations of its CMLink network as of Jan. 5, 2022.

CMI - which appears to have only two stores in B.C., at Lansdowne Centre in Richmond and the Crystal Mall in Burnaby – said its announcement is “at the request of the Canadian federal government.”

The statement read that, starting Dec. 28, CMI won’t accept any new membership applications and all SIM cards that haven't been activated before Jan. 5, 2022, will be void.

CM Link is a subsidiary of the Chinese, state-owned CMI, which is in charge of China Mobile's operation in the Canadian market.

The Richmond News has reached out to CMI for more information.

The National Post reported earlier in December how China Mobile had lost a court bid for a temporary hold on the federal government’s order that its Canadian affiliate be divested or wound up over national security concerns.

Federal Court Chief Justice Paul Crampton said the harms to the public interest posed by China Mobile International Canada’s continued operation “are significantly greater” than the harms the company has shown it would suffer without a stay of the order.

In January, the federal government told CMI Canada that a review of its operations, prompted by security concerns, indicated that the business could be leveraged by the Chinese state for foreign interference.

The government then issued an order in August directing parent company China Mobile to either wind up or divest the Canadian business within 90 days.

At a hearing last month, CMI Canada said, if the order to wind up stood, it would be irreparably harmed, losing customers, regulatory licenses, contracts, revenues and the right to do business in Canada.

In its earlier court submission, the Canadian government said CMI Canada had not filed “any direct evidence on this motion from any officer, executive or employee of any of China Mobile or CMI Canada to establish the nature or extent of the harm their counsel alleges they would suffer by complying with the Order.”

China Mobile, the government added, is a state-owned enterprise of China — “a country that poses a significant threat to Canada and Canadians through its espionage and foreign interference operations.”