A recent leadership reshuffle in China's telecommunications sector might signal the end of cheap asset injections and price stability among carriers, analysts said. The sector is going through a shake-up, including leadership changes at the Ministry of Information Industry and the carriers. Last week, China United Telecommunications Corp, the parent of China Unicom, said its chairman Yang Xian Zu, who has retired, would be succeeded by his deputy Wang Jianzhu, marking the fourth leadership change in the industry within the past four months. In March, the Hunan party secretary Wang Xudong was appointed to head the Ministry of Information, replacing Wu Jichuan who retired. Next was the departure of China Netcom Group's head Xi Guohua after just a year in the post. He was replaced by vice-minister Zhang Chunjiang. Two days before the announcement of Mr Yang's retirement, the Ministry of Railways removed Cai Qinghua, the chairman of China Railcom - the mainland's smallest telecommunications carrier - and his position was filled by Vice-Minister of Railways Wang Zhaocheng. Analysts are expecting to see more senior management changes among the six operators in China under the new regulatory reign of minister Wang Xudong. They also highlighted the key regulator risks. First, asset injection would no longer be cheap and second, tough enforcement of interconnection that accelerates competition. The key risk seen by UBS analyst Dylan Tinker was that the formation of the State Asset Management Co (SAMC) would mean the end of discounted asset injections that China Mobile (Hong Kong) and China Unicom had enjoyed. 'Basically, this body must now approve all asset injections, and it will lobby for a high price,' he said. The State Council set up the SAMC in April under Li Rongrong, the former head of the State Economic Trade Commission. Before the SAMC was set up, all telecommunications assets were controlled by the industry's regulator, which made it easier for the carriers to get approvals for asset injections at discounted prices in order to bolster share prices. 'Previously, the company heads, the telecoms regulator, and the premier were all from the same Shanghai community, and this made deal-making easy,' Mr Tinker said. 'Now this has changed and there is an independent state asset company. The discount on injections will likely be less and regulatory risk will increase.' China Telecom Corp, the Hong Kong-listed arm of the giant fixed-line carrier, has seen its asset injection plan delayed for at least six months, amid a series of leadership as well as regulatory changes. Another issue concerning analysts is mandatory interconnection. 'The government's call for full interconnection by June means it faces stiffer competition going forward, especially from China Netcom,' DBS Vickers Securities analyst Wallace Cheung said. The ministry has made full implementation of interconnection its priority for this year in order to boost competition. To show its determination, the regulator recently penalised China Telecom, Unicom and China Mobile for violating interconnection regulations. 'The government's mandate for full interconnection between networks by the end of June means Netcom and Unicom will be in a better position to take market share,' Mr Cheung said.