China Renaissance Holdings + more things

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China Renaissance

Hong Kong Stock Market filingthe Company (China Renaissance Holdings – *added this for clarity) has been unable to contact Mr. Bao Fan (“Mr. Bao”), Chairman of the Board, Executive Director, Chief Executive Officer and the controlling shareholder of the Company. The Board is not aware of any information that indicates that Mr. Bao’s unavailability is or might be related to the business and/or operations of the Group which is continuing normally (PDF) – Bao Fan has been incommunicado for a number of days. He is not responding to messages. While its unusual and considered bad practice having the same person as chairman and CEO, in China its more common. So Bao’s dual role at China Renaissance Holdings isn’t unusual. But that is the least of the worries that western investors will have about China Renaissance Holdings at the moment.

Waiting for the cook to finish
Meituan delivery workers waiting for the food to be prepared

Some thoughts:

  • China Renaissance Holdings has been involved in funding some of China’s biggest technology companies including Didi (think of Lyft or Uber as a western analogue) and Meituan (Deliveroo, Doordash or Just Eat equivalent.
  • Didi in particular seems to have gained the wraith of the Chinese government. Some of this feels to be down to sexism due to the company having a connected female president Jean Liu. The party leans more toward the Andrew Tait school of feminism
  • Mr Bao Fan’s disappearance evoked memories of Jianhua Xiao and his company Tomorrow Holdings.  Xiao was snatched and smuggled out of his apartment in the Four Seasons in Hong Kong back in 2017. Xiao for a few years all that people knew was that he was wheeled out of the hotel asleep in a wheelchair despite having a security team. He then spent a few years ‘helping‘ authorities unwind his business Tomorrow Holdings. Finally, he got sent to prison for 13 years with charges including embezzlement and fraud. If this happens with China Renaissance Holdings, or any of the prominent companies that it has as clients like Meituan there would be a shockwave, even through the most pro-China of foreign investors like Bridgewater Capital or Goldman Sachs
  • Bao Fan is one of several executives who were disappeared for a while. The most prominent executive who disappeared from the public eye was Jack Ma. Ma then stepped back from his businesses. If Bao steps back from China Renaissance Holdings, the Chinese tech sector will lose an investment rainmaker. China Renaissance Holdings maybe unwound or its assets handed over to state-owned banking institutions
  • What happens next will likely impact western sentiment towards Chinese investment in the short to medium turn, but financial institutions are still seduced by the ‘Chinese opportunity’. And the smart money this time might be wrong


Facing the Global South: Building a new International System by Yang Ping – China’s plan to build its version of the British Empire

Beyond the balloon: the US-China spy game | Financial Times 

Jokes or stereotypes? When ‘made in China’ comedy is no laughing matter | South China Morning Post – seems to based on the logical fallacy that Chinese ethnicity and the Chinese nation are one and the same. Its like Ghana demanding allegiance from all Afro-Carribbean and African-American people

Thousands of retirees protest in Wuhan and Dalian over medical payout cuts — Radio Free Asia 

Consumer behaviour

The U.S. cannot afford to turn against immigration | Noah Smith 

Some in Japan Say They Now Fear the “Anti-Masking Police” – Unseen Japan 


Activist investors to push for margins, profitability in first half of 2023 | Reuters – short termism rules


New CDC report shows Covid added little to mental health trends | Jonathan Haidt – interesting insights

How the superfast flight of astronauts and fighter pilots changes their brains | Space 

Hong Kong

Activist investors to push for margins, profitability in first half of 2023 | Reuters – short termism rules


Japan to grant residency to high-earning professionals after 1 year – Nikkei Asia – this is a big move for Japan, but still too little


UK solicitors warned not to act as ‘hired guns’ to silence critics of super-rich | Law | The Guardian – no comment on acting as hired guns to silence journalists investigating public interest issues of prominent sportspeople and politicians in the UK. I presume that’s still acceptable behaviour


Luxury advertising amid an economic downturn | Marketing | Campaign Asia 

Pharrell Williams named Louis Vuitton men’s creative director | Vogue Business 


A personal update from Susan – YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki steps down, will remain an advisor to Alphabet

Instagram Is Pulling The Plug On Live Shopping WeRSM – what works in China, doesn’t necessarily work elsewhere

‘Aims’: the software for hire that can control 30,000 fake online profiles | Technology | The Guardian 


The Future of the War on Terror | Harpers 

Albanian gangs set up hundreds of spy cameras to keep ahead of police | Financial Times