Billionaire tech banker Bao Fan is latest executive to go missing in China
Shares of investment bank China Renaissance Holdings have plummeted after its chairman and CEO Bao Fan was reported missing.
In a Thursday filing to the Hong Kong stock exchange, the renowned billionaire tech banker was reported unreachable by his company.
“The Board is not aware of any information that indicates that Mr. Bao’s unavailability is or might be related to the business and/or operations of the Group which is continuing normally,” the firm announced.
According to Chinese business newswire Caixin, the financial services firm previously dealt with a similar incident in September 2022 when the firm’s president, Cong Lin, was taken by authorities over his work at the state-owned ICBC bank.
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Bao is considered a veteran dealmaker in China’s tech industry.
He began his investment banking career in the late 1990s at Morgan Stanley and Credit Suisse and later founded China Renaissance in 2005.
Bao notably helped broker the 2015 merger between China’s leading food delivery services, Meituan and Dianping.
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His team also reportedly invested in Chinese electric vehicle makers Nio and Li Auto, and helped internet giants Baidu and JD.com complete their secondary listings in Hong Kong.
The firm’s recent announcement, which follows the disappearance of other high-profile business leaders in China, has renewed concerns about a potential Beijing crackdown on tech and finance figures.
In 2015, Guo Guangchang, the billionaire chairman of Fosun International, was reported as missing by the conglomerate. It was later confirmed that Guo was detained under the suspicion of an anti-corruption campaign.
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In 2017, insurance giant Anbang reported that its chairman, Wu Xiaohui, was detained by the authorities as part of a government investigation. He was later jailed for 18 years.
In the same year, billionaire Xiao Jianhua, who controlled Tomorrow Holdings, was also seized by Chinese security agents from his room at a Hong Kong hotel. He was sentenced to 13 years in prison in August 2022 for embezzlement and bribery.
In 2020, real estate tycoon Ren Zhiqiang and Alibaba Group founder Jack Ma disappeared for several months after criticizing the country’s leader and regulators. Ren was jailed for 18 years on corruption charges.
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