Chinese tech billionaire Bao Fan goes missing: company

Investment bank China Renaissance says it cannot contact its chairman and CEO Bao Fan. The entrepreneur appears to be the latest high-profile Chinese executive to go missing with little explanation.

Bao Fan, the chairman and chief executive of China Renaissance investment bank, has gone missing, the firm said Friday.

“The company has been unable to contact Mr. Bao,” China Renaissance said in an announcement to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, without offering further details.

Local media reported that the 52-year-old billionaire has been unreachable for at least two days.

Shares in the firm slumped by as much as 50% following the statement.

Who is Bao Fan?

Bao is a major figure in the Chinese tech industry. He heads a boutique investment bank that was responsible for the initial public offers (IPO) of ride-hailing app Didi and e-commerce giant as well as several large mergers.

Bao worked for Morgan Stanley and Credit Suisse before setting up China Renaissance in 2005 and listing it in Hong Kong in 2018.

Crackdown on company executives

Bao’s disappearance has brought back memories of an earlier crackdown on senior executives of Chinese private firms, including Jack Ma, the founder of online retailer Alibaba.

Ma went missing in November 2020 and remained absent from public view for several months after authorities called off the IPO of his Ant Group parent company.

Alibaba has never reported Ma unreachable, and media outlets have reported him traveling in Europe, Japan and Hong Kong.

Arrests and abductions

In 2017, Chinese-Canadian businessman Xiao Jianhua was arrested by mainland authorities and received a 13-year jail sentence under corruption charges last August.

One of China’s richest men, with an estimated fortune of $6 billion (€5.6 billion), Xiao was reportedly abducted from his Hong Kong hotel room by plainclothes police officers from Beijing.

In 2015, at least five executives became unreachable without prior notice to their companies, including Fosun Group ChairmanGuo Guangchang, who Fosun later said was assisting with investigations regarding a personal matter.

According to media reports, the crackdown on executives has resumed recently.

In September, China Renaissance President Cong Lin was taken into custody over an investigation into his work at state-owned bank ICBC.

Property developer Seazen Group Ltd admitted just days ago that it was unable to contact or reach its vice-chairman Qu Dejun.

mm/fb (AFP, Reuters)

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