One of China’s most high-profile billionaire bankers has gone missing after his company said it had lost touch with him.
The disappearance of Bao Fan, who founded the investment bank China Renaissance, comes after a crackdown on big technology companies over the past two years which Beijing said had been wrapped up.
Mr Bao is a key figure in China’s tech industry who has worked on major deals including e-commerce company JD.com’s £1.6bn initial public offering.
He also worked on the public listing of short video platform Kuaishou in Hong Kong.
His disappearance comes after former China Renaissance president Cong Lin was taken away by Chinese authorities in September last year, according to Chinese news media outlet Caixin.
Anti-graft investigations in China targeting the financial sector have ensnared dozens of officials and finance executives at institutions such as Everbright Securities, China Construction Bank and major bank ICBC.
Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said he was not aware of Mr Bao’s disappearance when asked at a news briefing.
“I would like to stress that China is a country under rule of law, and the Chinese government protects the rights and interests of Chinese citizens in accordance with law,” he said.
China Renaissance had said in a filing to Hong Kong’s stock exchange on Thursday that it had been unable to contact Mr Bao.
The 52-year-old had been unreachable for two days as of that evening, according to the financial news outlet Caixin.
The company said that it was “not aware of any information that indicates Mr Bao’s unavailability” was related to the business of the group.
Shares in China Renaissance plunged as much as 50% in Hong Kong on Friday after the firm revealed the news of Mr Bao’s disappearance.
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Mr Bao earlier worked at Credit Suisse and Morgan Stanley before founding China Renaissance in 2005.
He has been reported missing after at least half a dozen billionaires have disappeared for periods in China in recent years following reported run-ins with the ruling Communist Party, Forbes Magazine reports.
They were in many cases alleged to have been involved in corruption, tax or misconduct investigations.
Fosun group founder Guo Guangchang, who has been called the Warren Buffet of China, vanished for several days in 2015.
Meanwhile, Chinese-Canadian businessman Xiao Jianhua, who was one of China’s richest people, was taken in 2017.
He was jailed for corruption in 2022.
Alibaba’s billionaire founder Jack Ma disappeared from public view for three months in 2020.
He had earlier made comments critical of market regulators.
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