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China’s Ordos, the Chinese ghost city known for its empty skyscrapers is struggling to repay debt and has resorted to borrowing from companies to pay workers

China’s Ordos Struggles to Repay Debt: Xinhua Magazine

A Chinese city known for its empty skyscrapers is struggling to repay debt and has resorted to borrowing from companies to pay workers, a magazine published by the official Xinhua News Agency reported. Some district governments of Ordos, Inner Mongolia, had to borrow money from companies to pay salaries of municipal employees, Economy & Nation Weekly said in a July 5 report on its website. Ordos local-government entities have amassed 240 billion yuan ($39 billion) of debt, while the city had 37.5 billion yuan of revenue last year, the publication said without specifying annual interest costs. The report adds to signs of strains in an economy that probably decelerated for a second straight quarter as overseas and domestic demand slowed and Premier Li Keqiang reined in credit growth. China Rongsheng Heavy Industries Group Holdings Ltd. (1101), the country’s biggest shipyard outside state control, said last week it’s seeking financial support from the government after orders plunged. “Isolated default cases will happen in places like Ordos – – people know investment in these places is unsustainable,” said Ding Shuang, senior China economist at Citigroup Inc. in Hong Kong. Two phone calls to Ordos’s government general affairs office went unanswered. The city is also known as Erdos. Vice Finance Minister Zhu Guangyao said last week that China should be on “high alert” to risks in local government debt. Coal-rich Ordos is known for a building frenzy in recent years, including a new area named Kangbashi that was designed to accommodate 300,000 people.

To contact Bloomberg News staff for this story: Xin Zhou in Beijing at xzhou68@bloomberg.net

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Kee Koon Boon (“KB”) is the co-founder and director of HERO Investment Management which provides specialized fund management and investment advisory services to the ARCHEA Asia HERO Innovators Fund (www.heroinnovator.com), the only Asian SMID-cap tech-focused fund in the industry. KB is an internationally featured investor rooted in the principles of value investing for over a decade as a fund manager and analyst in the Asian capital markets who started his career at a boutique hedge fund in Singapore where he was with the firm since 2002 and was also part of the core investment committee in significantly outperforming the index in the 10-year-plus-old flagship Asian fund. He was also the portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific equities at Korea’s largest mutual fund company. Prior to setting up the H.E.R.O. Innovators Fund, KB was the Chief Investment Officer & CEO of a Singapore Registered Fund Management Company (RFMC) where he is responsible for listed Asian equity investments. KB had taught accounting at the Singapore Management University (SMU) as a faculty member and also pioneered the 15-week course on Accounting Fraud in Asia as an official module at SMU. KB remains grateful and honored to be invited by Singapore’s financial regulator Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to present to their top management team about implementing a world’s first fact-based forward-looking fraud detection framework to bring about benefits for the capital markets in Singapore and for the public and investment community. KB also served the community in sharing his insights in writing articles about value investing and corporate governance in the media that include Business Times, Straits Times, Jakarta Post, Manual of Ideas, Investopedia, TedXWallStreet. He had also presented in top investment, banking and finance conferences in America, Italy, Sydney, Cape Town, HK, China. He has trained CEOs, entrepreneurs, CFOs, management executives in business strategy & business model innovation in Singapore, HK and China.

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