Xu Long, general manager of China Mobile's Guangdong operations, has been held by provincial disciplinary authorities over alleged serious violation of party discipline, China News Services reported yesterday, citing the anti-graft body.
China Business News reported that Xu and his wife were taken away by investigators on Friday.
"Xu's detention was ordered by the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection … a sign that his case is quite severe," the newspaper quoted a source close to the Communist Party's graft watchdog as saying.
Gao Zhixing, a deputy general manager of subsidiary Guangdong Mobile, was presiding over the company's operations, the report said.
A separate report by Caixin Online said Xu was investigated for "work-related crimes", without elaborating. A spokeswoman at Guangdong Mobile refused to confirm Xu's detention. Xu would be among about a dozen top executives at the telecoms giant investigated since former vice-chairman Zhang Chunjiang was sacked in December 2009 for corruption.
Caixin said Xu was subjected to internal investigation by China Mobile last year, after which he resigned as executive director.
Xu, 56, was appointed chairman and general manager of Guangdong Mobile in 2005.
In July, a Xu subordinate, Sun Lian, director of Guangdong Mobile's planning department, was investigated, possibly for alleged misuse of a purchasing fund, Caixin reported. Before that, the general manager of China Mobile's Guangzhou operations, Li Xinze, was reportedly detained for investigation.
There was no information why Xu's wife was implicated.
Guangdong is one of the most profitable regions for China Mobile, the world's biggest mobile carrier. Last year, the Guangdong operations' 23.8 billion yuan (HK$29.93 billion) net profit accounted for 18.4 per cent of China Mobile's total net gains.