The Strategist

WSJ: Chinese government launches sweeping audit of financial firms

10/12/2021 - 08:21

China's anti-corruption agency will inspect 25 major state-owned banks and investment funds, The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported, citing its sources familiar with the inspection plan.

faungg's photos via flickr
faungg's photos via flickr
Particular scrutiny will include ties to construction giant China Evergrande Group, taxi service Didi Global Inc. and financial technology company Ant Group.

According to the publication's sources, the scrutiny will touch on the companies' credit, investment and regulatory documents. Authorities will analyse how their transactions or decisions may affect private firms. 

The results of the audit, according to the sources, may affect the remuneration of executives of state-owned companies: they are being insisted on by "some officials from the Ministry of Finance" to cut them. Moreover, individuals seen in contacts with private firms are likely to face charges, the sources said.

Details of the future inspection were revealed in late September by Zhao Leji, secretary of the Communist Party's Central Disciplinary Inspectorate. He said the inspectors would "carefully look for any political deviations" in the actions of state-owned companies.

On September 14, construction giant China Evergrande Group announced that it could not repay two loans to commercial banks, bringing its total debt to over $310 billion. However, China Hengda Real Estate Group, Evergrande's main corporate entity, subsequently announced to investors inside the PRC that it would manage to pay the coupon on bonds maturing in September 2025.