The surprise arrest of China´s Warren Buffet, Guo Guangchang, the chairman of Fosun international, has shocked the private sector, tells Rupert Hoogewerf, founder of the Hurun China Rich List at the International Business Times.
The International Business Times:
Guo’s disappearance comes as the Chinese government continues a stringent anti-corruption campaign, which has brought down thousands of officials over the past three years, including Zhou Yongkang, China’s former security chief and a former member of the Communist Party’s ruling standing committee. As the scope of the investigation has broadened, officials from several leading universities and some of China’s top stock brokerages have recently been detained.
“The news about Guo Guangchang is a Force 9 earthquake for China’s private sector,” Rupert Hoogewerf, head of Shanghai-based research group Hurun Report, which tracks China’s wealthy, told International Business Times.
“If confirmed it would be the first time such an influential entrepreneur has been investigated,” he said. “Guo is a widely respected businessman in China, and is seen as a scholarly figure, and something of a thought leader. And Fosun has had a major international impact.”
Hoogewerf noted that Guo is a member of the advisory body to China’s legislature, and a former delegate to the legislature itself, and is deputy head of the influential businessmen’s association of Zhejiang province, of which Alibaba founder Jack Ma is the current chairman.
Private entrepreneurs have become increasingly influential in China in recent years — but some experts say many remain anxious about their position in society, about the Communist Party’s attitude toward them, and the security of investments. This is seen as one factor in the large overseas investments by wealthy Chinese individuals in recent years.
Fosun is certainly increasingly well-connected internationally. Patrick Zhong, Fosun Group’s senior managing director and head of global investment, spoke at a recent conference in Shanghai about arranging a dinner for “my friend George Osborne,” the U.K. chancellor of the Exchequer, during his recent visit to China. Zhong described Fosun as a “trailblazer” in China’s attempt to build global brands.