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Feb 17, 2023

China Renaissance says founder missing in stock exchange filing

Bao Fan has been out of contact for days, according to media reports

The billionaire founder of investment bank China Renaissance has gone missing, according to a stock exchange filing from the company on Friday.

The statement says China Renaissance has been ‘unable to contact’ Bao Fan, one of China’s most high-profile figures in the business and tech worlds, without specifying for how long.

Hong Kong skyline
Photo: Ruslan Bardash

‘The board is not aware of any information that indicates that Bao’s unavailability is or might be related to the business and/or operations of the group which is continuing normally,’ notes the statement.

‘The executive committee of the company… will continue to be responsible for the day-to-day management and operations of the group. The company will make further announcement(s) as and when appropriate.’

The news led shares in China Renaissance to collapse 50 percent on Friday before recovering to around 30 percent down by the close. IR Magazine has reached out to the company for comment.

Media reports

On Thursday, Chinese business news service Caixin reported that Bao had been ‘out of contact’ with the bank ‘for days,’ citing several sources.

The head of investment banking at Chinese Renaissance, Wang Lixing, sent a message to staff on Friday morning trying to reassure them, reported the Financial Times (paywall).

‘In such a critical moment, everyone must believe in the group, believe in the executive committee, and not lose our heads,’ said the message from Wang, according to the article.

The FT added that China Renaissance has been ‘in turmoil since September, when group president Cong Lin was detained by Chinese authorities’.

Other cases

Lately there have been several cases of prominent Chinese businessmen going missing while under government investigation.

In 2015, Guo Guangchang, founder of conglomerate Fosun International, disappeared for four days. He reappeared at the company’s annual meeting, where he said he had been assisting authorities.

Another high profile case saw Jack Ma, the founder of Alibaba, drop out of public view for three months. During this time, the IPO of Ant Financial, an affiliate company of Alibaba, was canceled.

Founded in 2005, China Renaissance has played a key role in many of China’s biggest tech deals, from the mega merger of Meituan and Dianping to ride-sharing app Didi’s IPO in New York.