The first time I saw Xu Jiayin was at the launch of Fangchebao, a Chinese property and car trade platform. 

On December 30, 2020, Fangchebao Group was unveiled in Shenzhen. Evergrande Real Estate, the parent company of Fangchebao, announced that it would partner with 152 brokerage firms. The event was attended by hundreds of people, and Xu Jiayin, the chairman of Evergrande, was greeted with a standing ovation as he entered the venue.

Xu Jiayin is known for his grand ambitions and projects. He is the driving force behind some of China's most iconic landmarks, including the Evergrande Sea Flower Island, a sprawling resort complex in Hainan province, and the Guangzhou Evergrande football stadium. He also has a reputation for being a risk-taker, as evidenced by his decision to enter the car industry in 2019 with the strategies of buying and acquisition. 

On August 28, 2023, China Evergrande, one of China's largest property developers, resumed trading after more than 500 days of suspension. The company's stock price plummeted at the opening, falling to 0.36 Hong Kong dollars per share, representing a loss of more than 99% from its peak.

Chen Hao (pseudonym), a former Evergrande employee, told NBD that he held less than 6,000 shares of the company. He had planned to sell all of his shares at the opening, but the plunge made him worry that he would lose the transaction fees.

Chen Hao bought his Evergrande shares near the company's peak in 2019. In 2018, it reported core net profit of 78.3 billion yuan. However, the company has been struggling financially in recent years, and its debt crisis has led to a sell-off of its shares.

Since China Evergrande's suspension, Xu Jiayin's every move has been the subject of intense scrutiny. 

Boss Xu usually has a rescue plan

Chen Hao still remembers that, around the 2018 Evergrande performance conference, the stock has been volatile. He wanted to do a short-term trade but was too busy with work and forgot. At that time, Evergrande’s stock price climbed to 26.46 Hong Kong dollars at its highest. After that period of time, Evergrande’s stock price fell all the way, and the last high point was in July 2020, at 26.77 Hong Kong dollars per share.

That was also Chen Hao’s best opportunity, but he still didn’t sell. “I wanted to see if Evergrande could break the 30-Hk dollars curse, but it really couldn’t. Recently I saw that the car sector had new injections, so I wondered if there would be any follow-up moves. Mr. Xu usually does something today (August 28).”

In the past, Xu Jiayin and his once powerful circle of friends had pulled Evergrande back from the brink of death many times. The constant war investment and “good news” made Evergrande’s stock price soar, and also made some former Evergrande employees have the idea of “turning the tide against the wind”, but this time it was different.

Evergrande Group’s liquidity problem had already emerged in 2021.

As of the morning of March 22, 2022, China Evergrande, Evergrande Property and Evergrande Auto announced that they would postpone the publication of their 2021 annual reports, thus starting a suspension of trading that lasted for more than 500 days.

Xu appears two times in public in 2023, all related to football

During 17 months since the share suspension, Xu Jiayin has only appeared in public on a few occasions. These appearances were mostly limited to internal meetings at Evergrande Group, such as meetings on house delivery and monthly work meetings. Only in the first month after the suspension, Xu Jiayin appeared in Guangzhou with his management team to promote the first batch of Hengchi 5 cars.

Since 2023, no internal information about Xu Jiayin's appearances has been published on the Evergrande Group website or official social media accounts. The company's most recent news about Xu Jiayin was published on December 2, 2022, to refute rumors about him at the time.

NBD found that Xu Jiayin has only appeared and spoken publicly twice since 2023 and both are related to football events.

The most recent time was on July 4, 2023, when Xu Jiayin presided over a management meeting of the Evergrande Football Club. 

Meanwhile, Xu Jiayin had already become a person subject to execution.

On May 31, 2023, Evergrande Wealth's official microblog account issued an announcement stating that due to poor cash flow, the available funds for repayment this month were insufficient to meet the original standards. In late 2022, Evergrande Wealth had adjusted its repayment plan once, reducing the monthly payment from 8,000 yuan per person to 2,000 yuan per person.

Xu's material status being questioned

As of August 15, 2023, Evergrande has delivered 242,000 units this year.

Half a month ago, on August 14, 2023, an investment announcement by Evergrande Automotive sparked speculation about Xu Jiayin's marital status. Xu Jiayin's publicly disclosed spouse, Ding Yumei, was referred to in the agreement as "a third party related party." She also holds approximately 5.99% of the issued shares of China Evergrande.

NBD found in an HK bourse filing that Ding Yumei was last disclosed as Xu Jiayin's spouse in late 2021.

In 1982, after graduating from university, Xu Jiayin was assigned to work at the Henan Wuyang Steel Plant, where he met Ding Yumei and married her the following year. Over the years, Ding Yumei has rarely appeared in public. In December 2018, Xu Jiayin and Ding Yumei returned to their hometown in Henan in a high-profile manner, returning to the village of Jutaigang in Gaoxian Township, Taikang County. This was also Ding Yumei's first public appearance.

Xu Jiayin, a self-made man, led Evergrande to become a "cosmic real estate company". He also allowed Evergrande to repeatedly return from the brink of death and eventually turned the tide.

Now, Evergrande Auto, Evergrande Property, and China Evergrande have all fully resumed trading again. The Evergrande debt restructuring meeting and liquidation application hearing have been repeatedly postponed, which also concerns the future direction of Evergrande.

In the first half of 2023, Evergrande achieved revenue of RMB 128.18 billion, gross profit of RMB 9.8 billion, operating loss of RMB 17.38 billion, non-operating loss (including litigation, land recovery, equity disposal and asset valuation depreciation, etc.) of RMB 15.03 billion, and income tax expense of RMB 6.84 billion, and a total net loss of RMB 39.25 billion. 


Editor: Alexander