China's political minefield for foreign investors

Failed Blackstone property bet has ‘chilling effect’ as overseas investors try to guess Beijing’s next target

The Sanlitun Soho complex – a Soho China project – in Beijing. Blackstone’s biggest bet on the Chinese real estate market was thwarted by regulators in Beijing with no warning. The buyout group was forced to call off a US$3 billion (S$4 billion) deal to buy property developer Soho China after its founders – billionaire husband and wife Pan Shiyi and Zhang Xin – were accused of trying to cash out on their business and “flee” to the United States. PHOTO: BLOOMBERG
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At 8.30am on Sept 16, from his office in New York, Mr Stephen Schwarzman, the global chief executive of US$684 billion (S$922 billion) private equity giant Blackstone, logged into a video call with Mr Fang Xinghai, the chair of Beijing's top financial regulator.

The timing of the China-US Financial Roundtable, an annual meeting between a handful of Wall Street veterans cherry-picked to speak with a small group of top Chinese officials, was awkward.

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