Evergrande: Billionaire Property Mogul Faces Police Surveillance
In 2021, Hui Ka Yan, the founder of China Evergrande Group, appeared confident amid celebrations marking the Chinese Communist Party's centenary despite mounting financial pressure on his company.
Two years later, Hui faces police surveillance, and Evergrande’s vast real estate empire is at risk of liquidation. He has become increasingly inaccessible to both staff and industry insiders.
Evergrande’s total debt exceeds $300 billion, equivalent to Finland’s GDP. The company’s situation worsened when it couldn’t issue new debt due to an investigation into its primary China unit.
Hui, a former steel technician, built his fortune on low-priced housing and aggressive expansion, reaching $95.8 billion in annual sales by 2020. His net worth has since dwindled to $3.2 billion.
Hui was known for his low public profile and workaholic nature, often insisting on his work ethic. He reassured investors that Evergrande’s turnover and assets could cover its debts.
Hui ventured into electric cars and soccer in alignment with China’s goals. He also joined the “poker club,” a group of tycoons who engaged in investment deals together.
Cheng Yu Tung, the late founder of New World Development, injected $150 million into Evergrande before its 2009 IPO, aiding the company during the financial crisis.
Regulators had warned Evergrande to address its debt-laden businesses to avoid potential economic consequences.
In 2018, Hui emphasized Evergrande’s contributions, including paying 185 billion yuan in taxes and donating over 10 billion yuan.
He attributed his success to China’s policies and reforms, acknowledging the support he received throughout his journey.
To summarize, Hui Ka Yan, once Asia’s richest man, now faces a dire financial situation as Evergrande’s debt crisis escalates. His low-key persona, ambitious ventures, and participation in the “poker club” are notable aspects of his career. Despite challenges, he credits China’s policies for his achievements.