Chinese billionaire Bao Fan, who was reported missing almost two weeks ago, has received a sign of life: Bao is "cooperating with an investigation" by authorities in mainland China, his company said on Sunday. The 52-year-old is the founder of Hong Kong-based investment bank China Renaissance, which specializes in financing internet start-ups.
Bao's disappearance had raised fears that the Beijing government might crack down on the financial industry again. The bank's share price fell 50 percent at one point after it announced in mid-February that it could not contact Bao.
The financial institution did not comment on the content of the investigation on Sunday. But she said she would "duly" cooperate with the authorities and "help with any of their lawful requests" should they be made.
Bao had helped launch a number of internet startups in China with his bank, including leading e-commerce firm JD.com. The China Renaissance also accompanied the merger of the two Chinese travel agency companies Didi and Kuaidi Dache.
In recent years, Chinese authorities have repeatedly targeted investors. The Chinese-Canadian businessman Xiao Jianhua, then one of the richest men in China, was arrested in 2017. He was sentenced to 13 years in prison in August 2022 for corruption. Xiao was reportedly arrested in Hong Kong by plainclothes Beijing police officers.
According to news site Caixin, China Renaissance President Cong Lin was arrested in September. His work at the state bank ICBC will be examined. Bank China Renaissance, with more than 700 employees, is also present in Singapore and the USA.