China Renaissance CEO Bao Fan Officially Stepped Down

Bao Fan, the CEO of China Renaissance, has stepped down from his position after a year of cooperating with an ongoing investigation and being out of the public eye. 

China Renaissance annouced today, citing health concerns and Bao’s need to devote more time to his family, that Bao Fan has relinquished his roles as the executive director, chairman of the board, CEO, chairman of the nomination committee, chairman of the executive committee, and a member of the compensation committee. His resignation took effect on February 2, 2024.

Bao Fan is a significant figure in China’s investment sector. He has successfully orchestrated several high-profile deals, including the merger of Meituan and Dianping, Tencent‘s investment in, and the consolidation of and Ganji. He also established a fund that invested in a variety of companies, such as Huada Intelligent Manufacturing, Beehive Energy, Li Auto, Feipeng Bio, Pop Mart, Gatland, etc..

Industry insiders have suggested that Bao Fan’s involvement in the investigation might be linked to a probe into Cong Lin, the former president of China Renaissance. This investigation primarily pertains to a loan taken out prior to China Renaissance’s listing in Hong Kong. ICBC Financial Leasing granted China Renaissance a $200 million loan, with an annual interest rate of 7.62% and the company’s shares as collateral, in October 2017. China Renaissance repaid this loan in September 2018, the same month it was listed in Hong Kong. What makes this situation intriguing is that Cong Lin, who was the chairman and CEO of ICBC International at the time, managed this loan. Less than two years after the loan was issued and repaid, Cong Lin joined China Renaissance as the group president, reporting directly to Bao Fan.

In September 2022, Cong Lin was taken in for questioning by authorities, prompting Bao Fan to begin cooperating with the investigation. A year later, in October 2023, China Renaissance appointed Xie Yijing, the Group Executive Director and Co-Founder, as the company’s acting CEO.

China Renaissance confirmed in its latest announcement that Bao Fan’s resignation did not stem from any disagreements with the board of directors. The company expressed its deep appreciation for Bao Fan’s contributions and efforts during his tenure, recognizing his leadership in guiding the company through numerous challenges and towards significant achievements.

The company’s financial report for the first half of 2023 showed a revenue of 563 million yuan, marking a 6.7% decrease from the 603 million yuan reported in the same period the previous year. A significant portion of this decline can be attributed to the 51.5% drop in investment banking business revenue, which fell from 232 million yuan in the previous year to 113 million yuan. The company attributed this decline to a lackluster financial market environment, characterized by a sluggish IPO market in Hong Kong, shrinking fundraising for U.S. listed Chinese stocks, and a weak investment sentiment in the domestic private financing market.

As of the end of the reporting period, China Renaissance had a workforce of 639 employees, a 15% decrease from the end of 2022. Currently, trading of China Renaissance shares remains suspended. Prior to the suspension, the company’s share price stood at 7.27 Hong Kong dollars, giving it a market value of 4.132 billion Hong Kong dollars.

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