Apr 13, 2016

    Another top China businessman in disappearing act


    THE new president of Chinese solar giant Wuxi Suntech Power is "assisting an inquiry" at Customs' request, its parent said yesterday after reports circulated he had gone missing.

    Tang Jun is the only person from the company helping the investigation and the issue being probed remains unknown, a spokesman for Suntech's parent Shunfeng International Clean Energy told Agence France-Presse, adding the firm's operations are "all normal".

    Tang is the latest senior Chinese businessman to drop out of circulation for unclear reasons.

    In January, one of China's most prominent clothing firms, Metersbonwe, announced its chairman Zhou Chengjian had returned to work a week after saying he had disappeared.

    There was speculation he had been caught up in an insider trading investigation.

    Weeks earlier, Guo Guangchang - chairman of Fosun, one of the country's biggest private-sector conglomerates - had vanished from public view in connection with an investigation by authorities, before re-emerging.

    Suntech Power was once the world's largest solar panel producer, at a time when Chinese manufacturers were flooding the global market with cheap products, causing trade disputes with the European Union and the United States.

    The firm collapsed in 2013 after it announced its main Chinese unit, Wuxi Suntech, would seek bankruptcy and restructuring, resulting in a bond default in the US.

    The company later said it would receive a US$150 million (S$201.8 million) local government bailout.

    It was eventually bought over by Hong Kong-listed Shunfeng for three billion yuan (S$624 million).

    China Business News reported yesterday that Tang had taken up his position as president only a few months ago and the inquiry could be linked to issues at his previous firm.