China Renaissance shares plunge after founder goes missing

China Renaissance Holdings shares fall as much as 5 percent after earlier recovering some losses.

Bao Fan, founder and CEO of China Renaissance, speaks at a conference in Laguna Beach, California in 2016.
Bao Fan, founder and CEO of China Renaissance, is the latest executive to go missing in China [File: Mike Blake/Reuters]

Shares of China Renaissance Holdings, the boutique investment bank founded by missing tech dealmaker Bao Fan, have fallen as much as 5 percent after earlier regaining some ground from record losses.

After climbing as much as 3.5 percent early on Monday, the Hong Kong-listed stock gave up its gains and fell to as low as 6.82 Hong Kong dollars ($0.87).

The share price hit an all-time low of 5 Hong Kong dollars ($0.64) on Friday before recovering some ground to close at 7.18 Hong Kong dollars ($0.92), down 28 percent.

China Renaissance, founded by Bao in 2005, said on Thursday that it was unable to reach its chairman but its operations were continuing as normal.

Bao, a high-profile investment banker known for overseeing mergers involving Chinese tech giants Didi and Meituan, is the latest in a long line of prominent business figures to go missing in China, where authorities can detain suspects for lengthy periods without charge or access to legal representation.

Chinese-Canadian billionaire Xiao Jianhua disappeared from public view for five years after being whisked from his Hong Kong hotel in 2017 by people believed to be Chinese security agents before reemerging in mainland China five years later to face corruption charges.

Yim Fung, the chief of Chinese broker Guotai Junan International, vanished for more than a month in 2015 before returning to his company after “assisting in certain investigations”.

Jack Ma, the founder of tech behemoth Alibaba, dropped out of public view for a year after making critical comments about China’s financial regulators before reemerging in public in late 2021.

Bloomberg News reported on Friday that Bao’s family has been told the investment banker is assisting with an investigation, citing an unnamed person familiar with the matter.

Chinese President Xi Jinping has led a sweeping crackdown on corruption since taking power in 2012.

Critics have accused Xi, who has consolidated power more than any Chinese leader since Mao Zedong, of using the anticorruption drive as a pretext to purge political rivals.

Source: News Agencies