Soho It was announced today by one of China’s largest and most well-known real estate developers, China, that the co-founding billionaire couple Pan Shiyi and Zhang Xin have stepped down from their leadership roles as chairman and CEO “in order to focus on supporting the arts and philanthropic pursuits.” China is a major real estate developer in China.
As of today, Soho has announced that Huang Jingsheng, an independent non-executive director, has been appointed to the position of non-executive chairman. Pan will be replaced by this new appointment. After Zhang’s departure, longtime executives Xu Jin and Qian Ting will take over as joint CEOs of the company.
The developments are a response to an offer made by the American investment firm Blackstone Group to acquire a controlling stake in the Beijing-based company in a deal valued at $3 billion the previous year. After some time, the transaction fell through due to “a lack of progress.”
Blackstone had made an offer of HK$5 per share, but Soho China finished trading yesterday at HK$1.36. After the announcement of the new executives at the Hong Kong Stock Exchange (HKEX), share prices immediately soared up by about 10%.
Pan and Zhang, who together hold close to 64% of the firm, will continue to serve on the board of directors in the capacity of executive directors.
The significant changes taking place in Soho China came at a time when China is experiencing a slower economic development in relation with the Covid-19 outbreak and increased geopolitical conflict with the United States under the current head of the Communist Party, Xi Jinping. The Chinese real estate market is also under years of stress due to overbuilding and debt, both of which have significantly reduced the fortunes of the country’s wealthiest property developers. These factors are expected to continue.
Xi, who is expected to run for a third term as the party’s most influential figure this year, has been advocating for “shared prosperity” in an effort to reduce the disparity in wealth that exists between rich and poor in the country with the most people on the planet. China, which has the world’s second-largest economy at the moment, is also home to the second-largest number of billionaires in the world, behind only the United States.
Soho China was established in 1995, and as of the previous year, it owned approximately 1.3 million square metres of real estate, the majority of which was located in Shanghai and Beijing. The duo helped establish themselves on the map of global real estate because to the distinctive buildings they worked on with the late architect Zaha Hadid, who passed away in 2016.
According to the most recent Forbes Real-Time Billionaires List, Pan and Zhang have a combined net worth of $2.8 billion.