September 26, 2021

XI’S GOTTA HAVE IT! China Detains Business Chiefs as Its Corporate Crusade Expands:

China has kicked up its campaign to tame its free-spending, debt-laden companies, as the authorities punished the corporate chiefs of two troubled companies while letting a troubled property giant continue to struggle under the weight of more than $300 billion in debt.

The authorities in China have taken into custody the top two executives of HNA Group, a transportation and logistics conglomerate that bought up businesses around the world before quickly collapsing under heavy debts. The company said late on Friday that the police on Hainan Province, where it is based, had seized its chairman, Chen Feng, and chief executive, Tan Xiangdong.

Both men were detained “in accordance with the law for suspected crimes,” the company said in a statement, without specifying those offenses. HNA did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Mr. Tan appears to be a U.S. citizen, according to personal information about him that the company provided in a filing to Hong Kong regulators in 2019. A U.S. passport number was included.

The announcement came on the same day that the state-run Xinhua news agency said Yuan Renguo, the former chairman of Kweichow Moutai Group, which produces a high-end Chinese liquor often consumed by the business class, was sentenced to life in prison for accepting more than $17 million in bribes.

Those punishments are taking place against a broader backdrop of pressure on corporate practices that the Chinese Communist Party increasingly regards as dangerous to the economy and its own grip on power. They occurred as global investors await the fate of another troubled Chinese corporate giant, China Evergrande Group.

Earlier: Evergrande crashes as China dumps ‘build, build, build’ playbook.

Flashback to November of 2019: How to Conduct Business with Chinese Companies That See a Dark Future.

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