High profile Chinese investment banker reported missing by his company

The founder of a Chinese investment bank who is widely known as a prominent dealmaker and well-connected banker has reportedly gone missing.

Bao Fan, the founder of the investment bank China Renaissance Holdings Ltd, was aiding a Chinese government investigation before his disappearance, reported Bloomberg.

China Renaissance said in an exchange filing on Thursday that it had been unable to contact Mr Fan, adding that his “unavailability is or might be related to the business and/or operations”. The reasons for Mr Fan’s disappearance remain unclear.

Mr Fan has become the latest in a line of China’s business executives to have mysteriously disappeared.

The news of his “unavailability” follows a line of several high-profile Chinese business executives who have gone missing in the last few years amid a nationwide anti-corruption campaign led by president Xi Jinping.

At least five executives became unreachable without giving prior notice to their companies in 2015. In 2017, prominent Chinese financier Xiao Jianhua was reportedly abducted from his room in the Four Seasons Hotel in Hong Kong by Chinese security officers.

Then in 2021, Alibaba founder and billionaire Jack Ma became unreachable for three months amid Beijing’s crackdown on his businesses after he criticised the country’s regulatory policies.

Mr Fan founded China Renaissance in 2005, following a banking career at Morgan Stanley and Credit Suisse. China Renaissance has since become a prolific investor, with 48.6bn yuan (about $7.1bn or £5.88bn) under its investment management as of the end of June last year, according to the company’s recent interim report.

He is a prominent dealmaker, and was involved in major mergers in China, including that of ride-hailing firms Didi and Kuaidi.

The sudden disappearance of Mr Fan, known as one of China’s best-connected bankers, has raised concerns about a potential new crackdown by Beijing on finance and tech figures.

Following news of his disappearance, China Renaissance’s Hong Kong-listed stock dropped to a record low of HK$5 in early trade, wiping off $360m (£299m) in market value. The stock, however, regained some ground later in the day.

With no official comments from Chinese authorities, speculation is rife about Mr Fan’s disappearance among financiers and tech executives across Hong Kong and mainland China.