Missing China Bank Founder ‘Working With Authorities’

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Tech investment bank China Renaissance Holdings says founder Bao Fan ‘cooperating with authorities’ after disappearance earlier this month

China’s leading tech-focused investment bank China Renaissance Holdings said on Monday its chairman and founder Bao Fan is cooperating with an investigation by Chinese authorities, the first public information on Bao’s whereabouts since the company said just over a week ago that he had disappeared.

But in its Hong Kong stock exchange filing the company offered no further information on what Bao was doing or where he was.

“The board has become aware that Mr. Bao is currently cooperating in an investigation being carried out by certain authorities in the People’s Republic of China,” the company stated.

It added it would “cooperate and assist with any lawful request” from Chinese authorities if and when they are made.

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Shenzhen, headquarters of Tencent and other tech giants. Image credit: Tencent


China Renaissance’s shares dropped 28 percent on 17 February, the day after it said it had lost contact with Bao, but rose on Monday.

Authorities took Bao away earlier this month to assist in an investigation into Cong Lin, the former president of China Renaissance, according to a Reuters report.

Bao’s disappearance comes amidst a backdrop of an ongoing crackdown on wide-ranging areas of the Chinese economy that began in late 2020 and has notably affected tech giants and the finance industry.

In late 2020 Alibaba founder Jack Ma disappeared from public view for three months after making comments critical of government regulators.

Anti-corruption sweep

The imminent IPO of his fintech group Ant Group was scrapped and Ma, once one of China’s most outspoken business leaders, has continued to keep a low profile up to the present.

Earlier this year Ma was forced to give up his controlling stake in Ant Group.

President Xi Jinping launched an additional anti-corruption drive in late 2021 targeting the $60 trillion (£50tn) financial sector that has brought down dozens of officials, as well as affecting bankers from brokerages including Everbright Securities, Guotai Junan Securities and others.