- By Joel Guinto, Fan Wang and Frances Mao
- BBC news
One of China’s most high-profile billionaire bankers is missing, his company reports.
Bao Fan, the CEO of China Renaissance Holdings, could not be reached in recent days, the company said in a market update Thursday.
Mr. Bao is a leading deal broker in China whose clients include top technology companies Didi and Meituan.
His company’s announcement has reignited concerns over a potential Beijing crackdown on financial and technical data.
Shares in the investment company collapsed on Friday after it told shareholders it “couldn’t have contacted Mr. Bao Fan”.
The board added that it was not aware of “any information indicating that Mr. Bao’s unavailability is or may be related to the group’s business and/or activities.”
When asked for further comment, China Renaissance referred the BBC to its notification to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.
The company did not specify how long Mr. Bao had been missing. Chinese business news Caixin quoted sources as saying staff had been unable to contact him for two days.
The business wire also reported that the company’s president, Cong Lin, was kidnapped by authorities last September because of his previous work at the state-owned bank ICBC.
China Renaissance does not seem to have commented on the situation of Mr. Cong – who is no longer listed as an executive on the company’s site and in the most recent interim report.
The disappearance of Mr Bao – one of China’s leading technology investors – has sparked yet another history of Chinese executives suddenly disappearing for periods without explanation.
According to Forbes Magazine, at least half a dozen billionaires have disappeared for periods in recent years after reported run-ins with the Communist Party.
In several cases, they were suspected of being entangled in corruption, tax or other misconduct investigations.
Notable absences included that of Fosun group founder Guo Guangchang, dubbed China’s Warren Buffet, who disappeared for several days in 2015.
Chinese-Canadian businessman Xiao Jianhua was also arrested in 2017 and convicted of corruption last year.
At the end of 2020, Alibaba founder Jack Ma also disappeared from view for three months after making critical remarks about market regulators. He should have gone public with his digital payments company, Ant Financial, which would most likely have made him the richest man in China.
Mr. Bao is considered a key player in China’s tech industry, having completed some of its biggest mergers, including ride-hailing apps Didi and Kuaidi, and food delivery platforms Meituan and Dianping.
In 2005, he founded China Renaissance, which has since grown into a major Chinese financial institution.
The bank acted as an advisor to the IPOs of e-commerce sites JD.com and Kuashou, as well as Didi’s listing on the New York Stock Exchange in 2021.