Written by by Andy Squire, CNN
Chinese property billionaire Hui Ka Yan is the latest high-profile company founder to slip under the Chinese government’s scrutiny.
With annual sales of “over $40 billion,” according to his business website, Yan’s company Evergrande Group — based in the southern city of Guangzhou — is considered to be the third largest residential real estate developer in China.
In addition to a portfolio of high-end high rises, the company also operates a hotel and has its own retail property chain.
Last week, Chinese media reported that China’s securities regulator had revoked Yan’s registration as an “official officer” at Evergrande Group. According to Chinese regulations, individuals employed at companies have to be appointed to official positions.
The suspension comes after Evergrande announced losses of 6.6 billion yuan ($962 million) in the last six months of 2017. The Chinese government has also reportedly launched an investigation into the company’s lending practices, with more than $30 billion of debt reportedly outside the company’s control.
Evergrande’s listed debt has doubled in the last two years, as the company faces falling values of land in the face of oversupply.
With profits of $1.5 billion last year, Yan is one of China’s wealthiest business leaders, along with Wang Jianlin , chairman of Dalian Wanda Group and Alibaba’s Jack Ma.
A member of the Communist Party, Yan ranked 13th on China’s 400 richest individuals list in 2017 , according to a report by Hurun, a Chinese billionaire magazine, published last year.