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    China Renaissance Chairman Bao Fan Missing Amid Growing Concerns of Beijing Crackdown

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    China Renaissance, a boutique investment bank based in Beijing, has raised the alarm after its chairman and chief executive, Bao Fan, went missing. The company, listed on the Hong Kong stock exchange, said in a Thursday filing that it “has been unable to contact” its controlling shareholder and that 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.”[0]

    The development has sparked fears of a new Beijing crackdown on the finance industry, as it follows the cases of other prominent business executives who have gone missing. In 2017, mainland authorities arrested Chinese-Canadian businessman Xiao Jianhua and last August he was given a 13-year jail sentence on corruption charges.[1] In 2021, Jack Ma, the founder of tech giant Alibaba, resurfaced in the public eye after taking a year-long hiatus, which was prompted by his critical remarks regarding China's financial regulators.[2] Meanwhile, Shanghai-based Seazen Group reported on Friday that it has been unable to contact or reach its vice-chairman Qu Dejun.[3]

    Bao is a major player in the Chinese tech world, being responsible for the unions between Didi and Kuaidi (ride-hailing giants) and Meituan and Dianping (food delivery platforms).[4] He controls nearly 50% of China Renaissance shares and the company has expanded into dealmaking, private equity and fund management.[5] It raised more than 6.5 billion yuan (US$945 million) in a yuan-denominated fund in 2019, and has invested in tech companies including WuXi AppTec Co., Bilibili Inc., Li Auto Inc. and SenseTime Group Inc.[6]

    The investigations may take a long time.[7] In August of last year, Xiao Jianhua, an investment banker, was given a thirteen year jail sentence by a Shanghai court for bribery and misappropriation of funds.[7] In 2017, Chinese secret police apprehended Xiao, a prominent figure in the Chinese political landscape, at the Four Seasons hotel in Hong Kong. He was then rushed across the border and disappeared for five years until his trial.[7] Xiao's Tomorrow Holdings was hit with a C¥55.03 billion (US$8.1 billion) fine, and Xiao was individually fined C¥6.5 million.[7]

    0. “Top Chinese investment banker Bao Fan is latest CEO to go missing” CNN, 17 Feb. 2023, https://www.cnn.com/2023/02/17/investing/china-renaissance-ceo-bao-fan-missing-intl-hnk/index.html

    1. “Billionaire Bao Fan, 52, is latest CEO to vanish sparking fears of a new Beijing crackdown” Daily Mail, 17 Feb. 2023, https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-11763761/Billionaire-Bao-Fan-52-latest-CEO-vanish-sparking-fears-new-Beijing-crackdown.html

    2. “Billionaire tech banker Bao Fan is latest executive to go missing in China” Yahoo! Voices, 17 Feb. 2023, https://www.yahoo.com/now/billionaire-tech-banker-bao-fan-192730592.html

    3. “Vice Chairman of China's Seazen Holdings Missing” Mingtiandi, 13 Feb. 2023, https://www.mingtiandi.com/real-estate/research-policy/vice-chairman-of-chinas-seazen-holdings-missing

    4. “China Renaissance shares plunge after investment bank says chairman is unreachable” CNA, 17 Feb. 2023, https://www.channelnewsasia.com/business/bao-fan-china-renaissance-shares-plunge-after-investment-bank-says-chairman-unreachable-3285071

    5. “China’s top tech dealmaker Bao Fan goes missing” Al Jazeera English, 17 Feb. 2023, https://www.aljazeera.com/economy/2023/2/17/chinas-tech-dealmaker-bao-fan-missing-company-says

    6. “China Renaissance Shares Fall After Chairman Bao Fan Went Missing” MarketWatch, 17 Feb. 2023, https://www.marketwatch.com/story/china-renaissance-shares-fall-after-chairman-bao-fan-went-missing-26daeec1

    7. “Top Tech Financier Goes Missing in China, Spooking Sector” RealMoney, 17 Feb. 2023, https://realmoney.thestreet.com/investing/global-equity/top-tech-financier-goes-missing-in-china-spooking-sector-16116272

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