Bloomberg has recounted at least 36 Chinese companies reporting their executives missing between January and September last year. Amid the panic in China as their stock markets grind to a slow halt, some of the most prominent billionaires are disappearing.
This week another chairman has been reported missing. Zhou Chengjian, one of the wealthier of those to go missing, was chairman of the clothing company Metersbonwe. The company statement released last week stated their shares were about to be suspended on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange and that Chengjian’s whereabouts was unknown.
Several have gone missing recently, including the CEO of the telco giant China Telecom, Chang Xiaobing, and in November, Yim Fung, chairman of Guotai Junan International Holdings. Following the announcement of Fung’s disappearance, the company’s stock plumpeted by 12 percent.
Last year witnessed a growing corruption investigation, which some names of those missing have been announced to have been in police custody. Others have most likely fled the country in the midst of the government investigations to avoid sentencing.
The current investigations have a murky presence. It is unclear if these investigations into the corruption are hunts to shift the blame on a floundering economy, or a legitimate effort to hold bankers and business executives accountable. Either way, many of those missing haven’t been claimed by those conducting the investigations, and with China’s dark past f sweeping up people in the middle of the night, anything is possible.
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