21 September 2014

Bai Guizhi, former CEO of Suzhou Industrial Park (SIP) has come under probe for graft. This is the first serious scandal to hit the Singapore China joint venture project. Bai resigned his post as CEO days after he came under investigation. He was appointed CEO of China-Singapore Suzhou Industrial Park Development Group (CSSD) less than three months ago. CSSD is a Singapore-China joint venture set up during the time of former Singapore Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew and the Chinese strong man Deng Xioping. It was announced that the current investigations have nothing to do with his work in SIP. The current investigations relate to his previous work in Jiangsu province where several officers were caught involving graft. It appears that Bai was implicated in the investigation of Feng Yajun , formerly a member of the standing committee of the Nanjing party committee.

Mr. Bai was previously chairman and general manager of the Suzhou Industrial Park Neighborhood Centre Development (SIPNC). This is a community club. In October 2012, Mr Bai signed on behalf the SIPNC to a joint venture with Guangzhou Zhicheng Real Estate Investment to build neighborhood centers in the Guangzhou Knowledge City, a private sector project between Singapore and China.

Current Chairman of CSSD will take over the role of CEO. He was previously the CEO of CSSD until he was succeeded by Bai. The previous CEO’s of CSSD from 1994 to 2000 were Singaporeans, when Singapore consortium had majority investment of 65% in SIP. Since then Singapore has reduced its investment to 28% in the loss making SIP. The teething problems came up because the local politicians promoted rival and precursor industrial park SND (Suzhou New District),

Things have picked up for SIP since then and it has become one of the most successful industrial parks in China. The CSSD is in the process of getting a listing in the stock exchange. The company’s revenue exceeded 5 billion yuan, with a net profit of 630 million yuan, in 2012. SSD operates some 40 subsidiaries and employs nearly 3,000 people. In addition to the 80 sq km Suzhou industrial park, the group has invested in five other industrial parks in Jiangsu.

Bai’s investigation is part of President Xi Jinping’s war against corruption in China. Over the past few days, several officials have been hauled away for investigation in Jiangsu, an economic powerhouse on the eastern seaboard. Among those investigated was Lianyungang party chief Li Qiang. He was held up on Wednesday.

Lou Xuequan, former party boss of Liuhe district in Nanjing, hanged himself at home this week after being dismissed from the party amid a corruption investigation.


30 September 2014
Barely 2 weeks after we wrote the above article, news came out that the former chairman too was implicated in an investigation for corruption.  Suzhou city’s disciplinary commission announced that Mr Du Jianhua, deputy party secretary of Suzhou Industrial Park Administrative Committee (Sipac) is being investigated for “serious disciplinary violations”.
Suzhou Industrial Park is a joint venture between Singapore and China for development of industrial parks in China similar to those in Singapore.

Mr Du’s investigation does not relate to his work in Suzhou Industrial Park but relates to his work in Jiangsu province in other capacity.