‘Missing Chinese Warren Buffett’ found

Fosun International says multibillionaire founder Guo Guangchang is helping Chinese authorities with investigations.

Forbes estimates that the 48-year-old Guo is worth $6.9bn, ranking him 11th on Chinese rich list [File: Miguel Lopes/EPA]
Forbes estimates that the 48-year-old Guo is worth $6.9bn, ranking him 11th on Chinese rich list [File: Miguel Lopes/EPA]

Billionaire Chinese entrepreneur Guo Guangcheng, who has styled himself on the US investor Warren Buffett, has been found, after reports he had gone missing caused his companies to halt share trading.

In a statement late on Friday night, Fosun International said its founder and chairman was “currently assisting in certain investigations carried out by Mainland judiciary authorities”.

“Mr. Guo may continue to take part in decision makings of the Company’s major matters via appropriate means.”

The Caixin business magazine first reported Guo missing late on Thursday night, saying that he had not been contacted since midday on Thursday.

The story sparked a storm of intrigue inside and outside China, where Guo’s Fosun International is based, and stoked speculation that the man known as “China’s Warren Buffett” may have become the latest Chinese businessman to be questioned by regulators as part of a widespread anti-corruption crackdown by Beijing.

Fosun’s statement appeared to confirm the speculation.

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Shares in companies controlled by Guo were halted on Friday after the reports first surfaced.

Forbes estimates that the 48-year-old Guo estimates is worth $6.9bn, ranking him 11th on Chinese rich list.

Guo has built an empire of industrial companies, alongside a host of insurance, banking and asset management firms.

His empire now ranges from Portuguese insurer Fidelidade – an acquisition closed in January this year – to slices of the theatre company Cirque du Soleil and holiday operator Thomas Cook. Fosun International had total assets, spread across insurance, health, steel and banking, worth $55bn at the end of June 2015.

China observers told the Reuters news agency that any confirmation that Guo is facing specific scrutiny from regulators would reverberate around the international investment community.

“Should Guo, well-known abroad, be found to be at the centre of a graft investigation, this would be a strong signal to the world that China is serious about its anti-corruption campaign,” said Alberto Forchielli, founder of private equity firm Mandarin Capital Partners, with 20 years of experience in China.

Source: Al Jazeera, Reuters


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