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Welcome to the $1.5 Trillion Minefield of Defaulted Chinese Debt

A veteran investor reveals the pitfalls to avoid.

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It’s tough to find a bigger bull on delinquent Chinese debt than Benjamin Fanger. The Mandarin-speaking founder of ShoreVest Partners, a Guangzhou-based asset manager, built his firm around the idea that there’s money to be made from the nation’s growing pile of distressed credit. He says the opportunity is larger now than at any time in the 15 years since he started analyzing China’s nonperforming loans, or NPLs. He predicts it will only get bigger.

Fanger also says the $1.5 trillion-plus market is full of pitfalls. “If you don’t have experience, it can be very risky,” says the 43-year-old University of Chicago Booth School of Business alum, whose team has purchased more than 15,000 Chinese NPLs since 2004.