Asia Pacific / Politics

Who's who among China's rising financial czars

Reuters

Since 2018, China’s President Xi Jinping has installed 12 former executives from government regulators or state-run financial institutions to top leadership posts across the country’s provinces, regions and municipalities.

The appointments appear to put them in the fast lane as China prepares for a leadership reshuffle in 2022.

Below are the 12 rising deputy provincial or municipal governors who are put on that track:

Cai Dong, 51, Jilin province

A U.S.-trained banker who served two decades at Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, the world’s largest lender by assets, before moving to one of China’s three “rust belt” provinces in October. In Jilin, Cai has to deal with the northeast province’s sluggish fiscal revenues and mounting fraudulent private lending cases.

Wu Qing, 54, Shanghai

A veteran securities official and former head of the country’s largest stock exchange. Known for his iron-fist approach to market irregularities. His new role as the Shanghai vice mayor requires his expertise to tackle hundreds of fraudulent lending firms and private equity bubbles.

Yin Yong, 50, Beijing

A trusted deputy of former central bank Gov. Zhou Xiaochuan who used to oversee the country’s foreign exchange flows. As Beijing’s new vice major, he is now managing the city’s financial issues, including the disposal of private financial conglomerates considered too big to fail.

Kang Yi, 53, Tianjin

A senior banker at state-owned China Construction Bank who used to helm the lender’s local branch at the Three Gorges Dam, the world’s largest power station in terms of installed capacity. In Tianjin, Kang would have to deal with mounting debt woes and cross-defaults of city-backed commodity trader Tewoo Group, and serious corruption among local banking institutions.

Liu Qiang, 48, Shandong province

Once a senior state banker and economist, Liu is now the youngest deputy ministry official in the Shandong provincial government. He shares a similar profile to Guo Shuqing, a former state banker who was also governor of Shandong province and now the head of the banking regulator. Liu would have to deal with the bailout of the province’s largest lender Hengfeng Bank, and default contagion risks among local private firms.

Li Yunze, 49, Sichuan province

A former senior executive vice president of ICBC who is seen as an expert on equity investment. Li, who majored in Marxism in college, is overseeing difficult ownership reform of Chengdu Rural Commercial Bank, once controlled by the troubled conglomerate Anbang Insurance Group.

Guo Ningning, 49, Fujian province

Guo is the first female vice president of the 68-year-old Agricultural Bank of China (AgBank). The graduate of the elite Tsinghua University spent two years at the Singapore branch of Bank of China, led the bank’s international operations, which included issuing bonds for Belt and Road Road projects. In Fujian, Xi’s power base, Guo is facing loosely regulated cloud-funding activities for property purchases and rising household debts.

Zhang Lilin, 48, Liaoning province

Zhang, who holds a doctorate in the history of western economic thought, once served as the vice head of CCB, having spent much of his career at AgBank in a range of management roles, including credit card operations and the Hong Kong branch. Now he faces the tough task of reducing financial risks. Those challenges include restructuring the bailed-out Bank of Jinzhou, and managing a liquidity crisis after a bank-run at Yingkou Coastal Bank.

Wu Wei, 50, Shanxi province

The only official among the 12 with a banking background who is also in charge of provincial social welfare issues. After a brief career at the central bank as a graduate, Wu spent 21 years in different roles at the Bank of Communications before becoming its vice president.

Li Bo, 47, Chongqing

Stanford-trained and formerly a New York-based lawyer, Li joined the central bank in 2004 and helped draft regulations on money laundering, cross-border transactions and credit reporting. Li is now dealing with the city’s grassroot micro lenders, and massive defaults on bills issued by the financing arm of Lifan Industry Group.

Tan Jiong, 53, Guizhou province

Once the head of the Bank of China’s Tibet branch, Tan is now a vice governor of the country’s most indebted province, Guizhou. Tan will have to deal with the liquidity strains caused by the province’s huge spending on infrastructure projects.

Ge Haijiao, 48, Hebei province

Ge, who holds a doctorate in management, spent two years in Singapore as the general manager for AgBank. Ge now has to face insolvency and debt problems of steel mills and other manufacturers in the northern province.