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written by reader Fosun

By Feddie, December 11, 2015

This highlights the scope of China’s risks:
Billionaire Chinese businessman disappears amid corruption crackdown.
China’s largest company, Fosun Group, owner of Club Med and Cirque du Soleil, last had contact with chairman Guo Guangchan on Thursday.

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Travis Johnson, Stock Gumshoe

Indeed, totalitarian regimes can take down even the biggest executives — not quite like Putin’s “disappearance” of Khodorkovsky, but similar levels of control.

I do own Fosun, so am watching the story — no actual news, which is probably the craziest thing. Investors hate uncertainty, so even news that Guo was arrested for corruption might be taken better than the fact that he has just disappeared, presumably into the bowels of some kind of government inquiry.

That headline from The Guardian is quite misleading, though — Fosun has a market cap around US$15 billion, it may be the biggest private conglomerate in China but it’s nowhere near being “China’s largest company” … it’s not even a tenth the size of Tencent or China Life Insurance, not to mention the mega government-owned companies like PetroChina or China Mobile. Depending on what you mean by a “Chinese company” it’s not even in the top 20, though it’s close to that… unless you include the companies that are really Chinese but have nominal headquarters outside the country, then Fosun falls even further down the list.

This is not just a domestic Chinese company, they also own substantial insurers in the US and Europe as well as a slew of other businesses… I’m curious to see how non-Chinese regulators, particularly insurance/financial regulators, react to this if it continues for an extended period of time.

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