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Holding the Largest Debt in Chinese History, HNA Group Filed for Bankruptcy

On January 22, holding $700 billion (US$109 billion) in debt, the largest in Chinese history, the HNA Group filed for bankruptcy. The High People’s Court of Hainan Province is currently conducting a legal review of the HNA Group.

The HNA Group was formed in 1993 in the airline business. It gradually diversified into real estate, banking, and the Hotel industry. Between 2015 and 2017 alone, it had 40 international mergers and acquisitions having a total value of US$40 billion. At the end of 2017, the HNA Group was in a debt crisis due to excessive expansion. In July 2018, Wang Jian, then chairman of HNA Group, died in an accident in France. Chen Feng, who was a retired HNA board member at the time, took over HNA. In 2018, HNA reported its first loss of 4.9 billion yuan (US$0.76 billion). In the first half of 2019, the HNA Group lost 3.52 billion yuan (US$0.55 billion) with 706.726 billion yuan (US$110 billion) in outstanding debt. In 2019, HNA hired a risk mitigation group that tried to get it out of the liquidity crisis. Since then it has been selling the non-core businesses. On February 29, 2020, Hainan Provincial People’s Government sent a task force team to conduct a financial review and analysis of the HNA Group and its 2,000 subsidiaries. In the past year, HNA has also gone through a number of personnel changes. On January 22, after sorting through the company’s capital, management and debt structure, the task force team announced the bankruptcy decision and stated that HNA will have to go through a restructuring process.

1., January 22, 2021
2. Central News Agency, January 29, 2021
3. Radio Free Asia, January 29, 2021