Bao Fan, banker in China who disappeared, is said to be helping investigations
China Renaissance Holdings said Sunday that its chief executive, Bao Fan, a well-known investment banker in China, is cooperating with a government inquiry weeks after the company said it could not contact him.
In a filing with the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, the company said its board “has become aware that Mr. Bao is currently collaborating with an investigation being conducted by certain authorities in the People’s Republic of China.”
The company said operations are continuing as normal. It did not say where Mr. Bao was or identify the matter on which he is said to be cooperating. Chinese media have reported that the government asked Mr. Bao to help with an investigation related to a former China Renaissance executive.
The latest news followed the company’s announcement on February 16 that it “could not reach” Mr. Bao. The announcement caused the company’s share price to fall, and the stock has not fully recovered.
The disappearance of Mr. Bao, a key player in the growth of China’s tech sector, raised new concerns that Beijing could once again target Chinese companies and the executives who run them. Under the leadership of Xi Jinping, the Chinese government is exercising increasing control over the country’s economy and businesses.
The Chinese government briefly arrested Guo Guangchang, one of the country’s richest people, in 2015 and two years later arrested Chinese-born billionaire Xiao Jianhua at his Hong Kong home. Alibaba Group founder Jack Ma also temporarily disappeared from public life after criticizing Chinese regulators in 2020.
Mr. Bao is a towering figure in China’s technology sector. He worked at Morgan Stanley and Credit Suisse before founding China Renaissance in 2004. He became an early dealmaker for Chinese internet companies like Alibaba and Tencent, which surged as the country’s economy opened up.
In recent years, Mr. Bao had adjusted his approach as Mr. Xi consolidated his grip on the economy, echoed the Chinese leader’s rhetoric and worked with a department of a state-owned bank.