China's disappearing billionaire effect is an alarming trend

By Michael Posner

Headshot of Michael Posner

Western companies doing business in China need both to understand the magnitude of these challenges and to develop business models and practices that reinforce and support constructive changes.

The recent and dramatic upheaval in the Chinese economy has shaken many Western investors and signaled greater business risks in the Middle Kingdom.

Though it has received far less attention, another more ominous sign of trouble is the "disappearance" of senior executives from at least 34 Chinese companies over the last year. On Jan. 7, billionaire Zhou Chengjian, the Chairman of Metersbonwe, one of China's leading clothing companies, vanished. The company issued a statement saying it was looking into reports that he had been picked up by the police. Ten days later, he returned to work along with Tu Ke, the Company's Board Secretary.

In December, Guo Guangchang, the Chairman of Fosun, went missing for several days. When he resurfaced, his company issued a statement saying he had been "assisting in certain investigations carried out by judicial authorities." Fosun is a major private sector conglomerate that, among other holdings, acquired Club Med last year.

Read the full article as published by CNBC.
Michael Posner is a Professor of Business and Society and Co-Director of the NYU Stern Center for Business and Human Rights.