Caixin
Sep 12, 2013 02:47 PM

Detained Sichuan Businessman's Company a Major Supplier to CNPC

Wu Bing


(Beijing) -- The detention of Sichuan industrialist Wu Bing in the capital city's Beijing West Railway Station on August 1 has shed light on the business dealings of an energy company that counted top state-owned oil companies as major contractors.

The 50-year-old Wu, who also used the names Wu Yongfu and Li Ruochen, controls Zhongxu Investment Co. Ltd., which was established in 2001 with 100 million yuan in registered capital. The company's businesses covered a wide range of industries including hydropower station construction, real estate development and filmmaking. Wu was chairman of Zhongxu (Hong Kong) Limited, a branch of Zhongxu Investment.

The Beijing branch of Zhongxu was set up in 2004, under the name Beijing Zhongxu Yangguang Petroleum and Natural Gas Technology Ltd. and with 5 million yuan in registered capital. The company saw frequent changes to shareholders in recent years, and much of its business has focused on the highly monopolized energy sector.

The company's official website, which is no longer accessible, stated its main business as IT services, ranging from design to implementation and outsourcing, to Chinese oil companies including China National Petroleum Corp. (CNPC) and China Petrochemical Corp. (Sinopec), the two largest state-owned oil companies.

Zhongxu said on its company profile that it was responsible for building and managing 8,000 CNPC gas stations, or 40 percent of the company's gas stations around the country. It said that it also participated in building the delivery system of CNPC's oil products.

On paper the two founding shareholders of Beijing Zhongxu are Zhao Ming and Zhan Minli, while the former, a retired military officer, served as the legal representative of the company. The company's mailing address was listed as Huating Jiayuan in northern Beijing.

Three years after it was created, Beijing Zhongxu pumped up its registration capital to 20 million yuan. From 2007, frequent changes were made to the company's shareholding structures, legal representatives and its address. In December 2009, Zhan transferred his company shares worth 16 million yuan to a then 37-year-old Beijing man named Zhou Bin. Zhao remained as the legal representative and manager of Zhongxu. The home address of Zhou on his identity card was Huating Jiayuan, the original mailing address of Beijing Zhongxu in 2004.

Two months after the transaction, Zhongxu's shareholder conference changed the company name to Zhongxu Yangguang Energy and Technology Ltd. Corp. The company then had net assets of 32.6 million yuan, Zhou had 80 percent share and became the chairman.

The changes continued. Another four months later, a new shareholders conference expanded the size of the board from five to six people. In December 2012, Zhou was no longer a board member, and his position was taken by a woman named Huang Wan, a U.S. passport holder who is one year older than Zhou. Huang remained as chairman of Beijing Zhongxu.

By the end of 2011, the Beijing-based Zhongxu branch had total assets of 139 million yuan, gross revenue of 130 million yuan and net profits of 24.7 million yuan.

Zhongxu Investment is currently solely owned by Zhongxu Shengshi Fenghua Investment Co., a Beijing-based entertainment investment firm which is also believed to be controlled by Wu.

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