Another famous millionaire disappeared in China

Another famous millionaire disappeared in China

Bao Fan is the founder of the China Renaissance investment bank: he has not been found for two days, believed to have been withdrawn on government advice

Investment bank China Renaissance said on Friday it had not been able to contact or hear from its founder and chief executive officer Bao Fan for more than two days. Bao is a well-known figure in Chinese finance, with important ties to some of the country’s biggest tech companies, such as Alibaba and Tencent.

His disappearance was quickly linked to the disappearances of other prominent business figures in China in the past. Personalities such as Guo Guangchang, President of Fosun International or Jack Ma, founder of Alibaba, have suddenly disappeared in recent years, sometimes for days, sometimes for months, after more or less openly criticizing the political or economic decisions of the Chinese Communist Party. No specific explanations were given for their reappearance, but in most cases the businessmen then kept a much lower profile, avoiding the limelight and limiting their statements.

In recent years, after a period of great growth in which some corporate realities had acquired considerable size and importance, Chinese President Xi Jinping severely restricted the freedom of action and wealth creation of private companies.

Bao Fan, 52, had worked with Western banks and investment funds such as Credit Suisse and Morgan Stanley in the past before founding China Renaissance, an investment bank that has helped list China’s big tech companies in recent years, among other things . The company said it was unable to contact Bao but was not aware of any information that could link the company to his disappearance. However, China Renaissance stock lost 28 percent of its value after Friday’s announcement, while some Chinese media reported that the company’s president, Cong Lin, was “kidnapped” by Chinese authorities in September 2022.

Bao Fan with Hui Yin Ching at a gala night in California (Photo by Kimberly White/Getty Images)

There are numerous cases of millionaires who have disappeared or been arrested by the authorities: often the objectives of the Chinese government’s actions have a Western background and are well known. Guo Guangchang was one of the richest men in the country when he was arrested on corruption charges in 2015 and released days later. Two years later, Chinese-Canadian businessman Xiao Jianhua, who had amassed a large fortune and many connections with Beijing politicians, was arrested at the Four Seasons Hotel in Hong Kong: in 2022 he was sentenced to 13 years in prison for corruption.

Jack Ma, founder of Alibaba and one of the most prominent Chinese businessmen including overseas, disappeared for more than three months in late 2020, also in connection with the postponement and subsequent delisting of his financial company, expected to be the largest in Chinese history. Since then, he has rarely appeared in public: in November 2022, his presence was reported in Tokyo, where he had lived for six months, according to the Japanese press, trying to avoid public attention.

Continue on the post