Chinese billionaire tech banker Bao Fan goes missing

One of China’s most high-profile bankers, billionaire investor Bao Fan, has gone missing — marking the latest disappearance of a top executive in the tightly-controlled country.

China Renaissance Holdings said in a market update Thursday that it has been “unable to contact” its chairman and CEO in recent days.

His disappearance is the latest in a series of cases of prominent Chinese executives going missing with little explanation amid President Xi Jinping’s sweeping anti-corruption campaign.

Shares of the Beijing-based China Renaissance Holdings plunged by as much as 50% in early trading Friday on the news of Bao’s mysterious disappearance, wiping off $357 million in market value. They were down about 28% in the afternoon.

The company said that it was “not aware of any information that indicates Mr. Bao’s unavailability” was related to the business of the group.

Bao, Renaissance Bank’s founder and controlling shareholder, has worked on major deals including e-commerce company’s $2 billion initial public offering and the public listing of short video platform Kuaishou in Hong Kong.

Fan Bao, chairman and chief executive officer of China Renaissance Group, stands for a photograph after a Bloomberg West television interview in San Francisco, California, U.S., on Wednesday, June 15, 2016.
China Renaissance Holdings said that it has been “unable to contact” its chairman and CEO Bao Fan in recent days, in the latest disappearance of a top executive.
Bloomberg via Getty Images

The dealmaker’s disappearance comes after the top-tier investment bank’s president, Cong Lin, was taken away by Chinese authorities in September last year, according to Chinese news media outlet Caixin, which first reported the news.

In 2015 alone, at least five executives became unreachable without notice and little explanation, including Fosun Group Chairman Guo Guangchang, the billionaire dubbed “the Warren Buffett of China.”

Fosun later said it was assisting with investigations regarding a personal matter.

Dozens of officials and finance executives at institutions such as Everbright Securities, China Construction Bank and major bank ICBC have been caught up in Beijing’s anti-graft probes.

In 2020, real estate magnate Ren Zhiqiang disappeared for several months after he allegedly criticized President Xi over his handling of the coronavirus pandemic, reported CNN Business. Ren was eventually sentenced to 18 years on corruption charges.

People walk past a China Renaissance office at an office building in Beijing, Friday, Feb. 17, 2023.
Bao founded China Renaissance Bank in 2005 and took it public in 2018.

Wu Xiaohui, chairman of the insurance company Anbang, met a similar fate after being detained for an investigation in 2017.

The same year, billionaire asset manager Xiao Jianhua was abducted from his Four Seasons hotel room in Hong Kong and brought to Mainland China, where he was sentenced to 13 years for fraud and corruption.

Bao earlier worked at Credit Suisse and Morgan Stanley. He founded China Renaissance in 2005 and took it public in 2018, raising $346 million.

He helped orchestrate several seminal business deals in the tech sector in recent years, including the merger of ride-hailing companies Didi and Kuaidi, food delivery giants Meituan and Dianping and travel devices platforms Ctrip and Qunar.

Bao Fan, chairman and chief executive officer of China Renaissance Partners, speaks during the Wall Street Journal and F.ounders Converge Tech Conference in Hong Kong, China, on Thursday, July 30, 2015.
Bao, who previously worked at Credit Suisse and Morgan Stanley, has emerged as one of China’s top dealmakers in the tech sector.
Bloomberg via Getty Images

His bank has acted as adviser for some of China’s biggest tech initial public offerings, including those of JD.Com Inc and Kuaishou Technology as well as Didi’s New York listing in 2021.

Bao’s vanishing act comes days after property developer Seazen Group Ltd said it was unable to contact or reach its vice-chairman.

With Post wires

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