China’s government takes over BC’s biggest retirement home chain

By ThinkPol Staff

British Columbia’s biggest retirement home chain came under China’s government’s control today.

Beijing-based Anbang Insurance Group Co acquired Vancouver-based Retirement Concepts, which owns 24 homes in BC, Calgary and Montreal, after the Trudeau government controversially greenlighted the billion-dollar sale last year[1]https://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/ottawa-approves-sale-of-bc-retirement-home-chain-to-chinese-group-with-murky-ownership/article34107591/.

Beijing announced today that it is taking over Anbang Insurance Group Co. and prosecuting founder Wu Xiaohui for “economic crimes”, according to China’s state-run China Internet Information Center[2]http://www.china.org.cn/china/Off_the_Wire/2018-02/23/content_50587651.htm.

China Insurance Regulatory Commission (CIRC) claimed that the move is taken to maintain normal operation at the company and protect consumers’ rights.

“Illegal business practices by Anbang Insurance Group may seriously threaten the solvency of the company,” the CIRC stated.

The insurance company also acquired a controlling stake in the four towers of the Bentall Centre in a deal worth an estimated $660 million dollars[3]http://business.financialpost.com/real-estate/property-post/chinas-anbang-insurance-group-scoops-up-remaining-stake-in-vancouvers-bentall-centre-i-ii-iii-iv-source.

While the Canadian government approved Anbang’s acquisition of Retirement Concepts without much fuss, the insurer’s attempts to purchase companies in the US and in Europe have often met with failure, as regulators have been unable to establish exactly who owns the company.

A New York Times investigation found that Anbang was controlled by 39 shell companies owned by chairman’s wife Zhuo Ran, the granddaughter of former Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping; Chen Xiaolu, the son of a People’s Liberation general; and some little-known Chinese state-owned enterprises[4]https://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/02/world/asia/china-anbang-insurance.html?_r=0.

It is estimated that Anbang has worldwide assets exceeding $300 billion, including New York’s Waldorf Astoria Hotel and Westin St. Francis in San Francisco.

[Photo: Bentall Tower 1, owned by Anbang – Credit: Colin Knowles/Flickr]

References   [ + ]

1. https://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/ottawa-approves-sale-of-bc-retirement-home-chain-to-chinese-group-with-murky-ownership/article34107591/
2. http://www.china.org.cn/china/Off_the_Wire/2018-02/23/content_50587651.htm
3. http://business.financialpost.com/real-estate/property-post/chinas-anbang-insurance-group-scoops-up-remaining-stake-in-vancouvers-bentall-centre-i-ii-iii-iv-source
4. https://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/02/world/asia/china-anbang-insurance.html?_r=0

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