Bao Fan, a billionaire Chinese businessman has gone missing, causing chaos at one of the country’s top investment banks. Bao Fan, the founder and executive director of China Renaissance, is a major figure in the Chinese tech industry and has been instrumental in the rise of a number of large domestic internet startups.
China Renaissance shares fell after the bank informed the Hong Kong stock exchange on Thursday that it had been unable to contact Bao, without providing any further details. After the statement, the stock dropped by 50% before recovering to around 30%.
The 52-year-old had been unreachable for two days as of Thursday, according to the financial news outlet Caixin. In a message sent to employees on Friday morning, China Renaissance’s executive committee said not to worry. “[We] believe that everyone has had a restless night. At this time, [we] hope that you do not believe in or spread rumours,” the message stated, according to the Wall Street Journal.
As President Xi Jinping continues his long-running anti-corruption campaign, Bao’s disappearance raises concerns about a possible renewed crackdown on China’s finance industry. As part of Xi’s common prosperity drive to regulate income distribution and the means of wealth accumulation, the Chinese government has cracked down on several major industries, including technology, education, and real estate
Under Xi, at least six billionaires have been intimidated, including Jack Ma, the founder of the e-commerce giant Alibaba, who went missing for three months in 2020 after criticising market regulators.
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