Developer China Vanke founder Wang Shi steps down from board

Xavier Trudeau
Juin 21, 2017

Did Wang Shi get gonged by Shenzhen's state-owned powers that be?

Capping two years of shareholder infighting, the founder of China Vanke - China's largest property developer and one of the most active Chinese firms in NY - has stepped down.

"I have decided not to be re-elected as Vanke's director since the beginning of the discussion of a new board", Wang wrote in his WeChat blog. They are much younger but mature enough.

China Vanke was embroiled in an ownership tussle as financial conglomerate Baoneng Group sought to oust the company's management since late-2015.

The hostile takeover attempt ended earlier this month when Vanke, which is valued at $34 billion, announced a deal worth RMB 45.6 billion ($6.9 billion) with Shenzhen Metro Group, swapping sites above Shenzhen subway stations for shares. Saying that it was time for a new generation to lead the company, he said an executive team led by Vanke's president, Yu Liang, would succeed him. In a statement, Shenzhen Metro paid tribute to Wang and said it "respects his decision".

Can the Victor Be Sent into Exile?

The move was widely expected after China Vanke was taken over by the Shenzhen government in March, ending a struggle for boardroom control and raising questions about to what extent the property giant would remain a market-driven company.

In an article published in Reuters, David Hong, head of research at CRIC Hong Kong, said, "The Wang Shi era has officially come to an end, but he stopped managing the company years ago so his departure will have no impact [on] the company's operation".

The firm's shares rose 0.6 percent as of 9:57 a.m.in Hong Kong on Wednesday, compared with a 0.8 percent decline in the Hang Seng Index. Baoneng had financed its stake in Vanke through sales of high-yield "universal insurance" policies and has since been hit with penalties including an indefinite freeze on selling some insurance products and a 10-year ban from the insurance industry for its chairman.

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