Anbang hemorrhages cash as rumors swirl about investigations – China business and technology news from April 27, 2017

Business & Technology

A summary of today’s top news in Chinese business and technology. Part of the daily SupChina news roundup "Will China take over the moon?"

Caixin notes that the life insurance and property insurance subsidiaries of Anbang Insurance Group “reported a net cash outflow of 5.7 billion yuan ($830 million) and 19.1 billion yuan respectively in the first quarter of this year,” which analysts say “indicates the companies paid more to clients who claimed back or canceled their policies than the income the companies could earn from insurance premiums.” The article says the cash hemorrhage “might be related to tightened oversight over so-called ‘universal life insurance,’ a type of policy that combines a death benefit with a high-return investment.”

Anbang came to global attention with an “overseas investment spree that included the purchase of the Waldorf Astoria New York in 2014,” and has been in the news more recently for negotiating a multibillion-dollar financing deal for a New York building owned by the family of Jared Kushner, Donald Trump’s son-in-law. The deal was abandoned after media reports suggested possible impropriety.

In other news about Anbang, The Real Deal reports on rumors circulating on Chinese social media that Anbang chief executive Wu Xiaohui 吴小晖 has been detained and investigated for corrupt activities, and that the company’s plans for overseas investments have all been suspended. The U.S.-based Chinese language news and gossip site Mingjing has also commented (in Chinese) on the rumors. The Real Deal says that “Anbang denied that Wu had been detained and said its business operations were continuing as usual.”