Ditched by Communist Party, Chinese billionaire loses 93 per cent of his fortune

Chinese billionaire Hui Ka Yan’s wealth has diminished to $3 billion from $42 billion in 2017-2018, Bloomberg Billionaire Index showed. The chairman of the China Evergrande Group, once the second richest person in Asia, was known to be the bridge between the Chinese elite’s world of business and the country’s political power centres.

The Bloomberg Billionaire Index further showed that China’s five richest property tycoons lost about $65 billion combined in the past two years. 

Hui Ka Yan’s lost fortune has been attributed to China’s credit crunch that made the country’s real estate business the biggest casualty amid the crisis stoked by COVID-19 pandemic and Beijing’s authoritarian restrictions that choked growth of businesses in the country.

In Evergrande group, Hui Ka Yan currently helms over one of China’s biggest and most indebted real estate developers. The company has over 800 projects in more than 280 cities in China and beyond but is struggling to repay $300 billion in liabilities.

Hui Ka Yan’s lost fortune: Ditched by the Communist Party elite?

Since 2008, Hui had been part of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) – the upper house of Chinese Communist Party’s Politburo – consisting of a 300-member elite group with government officials and business tycoons as its members. 

CPPCC acts as an advisory body to the National People’s Congress (the legislature) in Beijing. But unlike the upper houses of traditional democracies (such as India’s Rajya Sabha) they are known to function as nominal bodies, rarely turning down government bills. CPPCC’s annual convention, however, provides a small but confined space for debate within Beijing’s power centres. The group dwells upon everything from political and social issues to new laws and the nation’s growth.

Hui Ka Yan excluded from CPPCC 

Hui was told to not attend CPPCC annual convention in March 2022. He has now been excluded from the latest list of the individuals who will form the CPPCC for the next five years. At least five other prominent real estate industrialists were excluded from the CPPCC listing, Bloomberg reported. 

The new CPPCC members will meet in Beijing in March for the group’s 14th National Committee. 

President Xi Jinping’s “common prosperity” drive to redistribute wealth has led to cracks in several industries. For the real estate sector, the imposition of a strict “three red lines” policy to reduce debt has furthered a crisis that’s affecting banks, trust firms and millions of homeowners.

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