Losing Your Shirt With Evergrande

China is wealthy – except that it is not as wealthy as it appears. Extravagant displays of wealth are often financed with debt. While this is not unique to China, China brings it to different level altogether.

Evergrande is China’s biggest property developer. Below is a list of Evergrande shareholders. Notice that quite a number of fund managers in the West were bullish on Evergrande and had invested tens of millions of their clients’ money in this turkey which had managed to keep its financial woes under wraps for so many years with plenty of help from China’s official media.

Ka Yan Hui9,370,871,49770.7%
Chinese Estates Holdings Ltd857,451,0006.47%
Yu Mei Ding791,246,2385.97%
Hoi Wan Chan315,842,002.38%
The Vanguard Group Inc83,522,5610.63%
BlackRock Fund Advisors46,390,3880.35%
Dimensional Fund Advisors37,551,5660.28%
Norges Bank Investment Management28,111,4980.21%
APG Asset Management12,734,5010.096%
BlackRock Advisors UK Ltd12,603,3040.095%
Evergrande Shareholders

Its current liabilities are estimated to be over $300 billion. I’m not sure how much our local banks have lent them, but its biggest creditor appears to be Minsheng Bank. When this mammoth collapses, the fallout is going to trigger a devastating chain reaction with an estimated 4 million people likely to lose their jobs.

In the video below, Xiao Cui explains how Evergrande founder Xu Jiayin 许家印 employs 缓兵之计 to buy time and prevent a major social upheaval which may upset the powers that be. If not for the sheer numbers of people who have purchased their investment products, the government would probably not even require Mr Xu to make a statement.

I’ve always had the impression that people in China are shrewd, cynical and difficult to cheat. But while they ignore the lowbrow conman, they worship power. An overdose of “positive energy” 正能量 also had a blinding effect on the populace.

Below is a video compilation of “confessions” from Evergrande former employees and investors. Apart from property, Evergrande also sells financial products. The folks in the video could be hauled up for picking quarrels and provoking trouble (寻衅滋事罪).