Guo Guangchang, the Chinese business leader who went missing last week, appears to have been released by mainland authorities.Hong Kong’s RTHK Monday (Dec 14) reported that Guo had appeared at a meeting of Fosun International, the investment conglomerate that has substantial media shareholdings. Fosun International, of which Guo is founder and chairman, has major shareholdings in Jeff Robinov’s Studio 8, Bona Film Group, Cirque du Soleil, and Korea’s SM Entertainment.The unconfirmed report of Guo’s release follows a briefing given by...
Fosun International’s media and entertainment assets, which include stakes in Jeff Robinov’s Studio 8, Cirque du Soleil, and Korean talent agency SM Entertainment, are held as part of its “Happiness” division. That’s a wooly sounding name for an ambitious attempt to build a portfolio of consumer-facing businesses.
The group was co-founded and is now headed by Guo Guangchang, who has risen from Cultural Revolution Era-enforced poverty to a personal fortune of some $8 billion. Once described as looking something between a librarian and a migrant worker, Guo is understated, spiritual and exudes the goal-oriented, can-do spirit typical of many Chinese.
Guo was dramatically taken away by Chinese security forces in late 2015, usually an ominous sign of an Icarus-like fall. But he re-emerged days later and has coolly carried on as if nothing ever happened. Guo attributes his success not to being first into a sector, but rather making the right moves at the right time, and to helping “unicorns” grow. An avowed follower of Berkshire Hathaway boss Warren Buffet, Guo has piloted Fosun from steel and mining to pharmaceuticals, entertainment and insurance.
Like Buffet, Guo views insurance premiums as funds available for investment elsewhere. Stakes in travel firms Club Med and Thomas Cook sit alongside the media portfolio and hospitals as part of Fosun’s attempt to address the aspirations of China’s burgeoning middle class.