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The Big Take

Spiraling Debt Crisis Confronts Evergrande Billionaire — and Xi

  • Hui tells bankers to ignore headlines pummelling stock, bonds
  • Evergrande considering asset sales, IPOs to bolster finances
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Xi Faces Spiraling Evergrande Crisis

The call went out from the megalopolis of Shenzhen, just north of Hong Kong: Hui Ka Yan, one of the richest people in China, wanted to talk.

The news was bad — and about to get even worse — for the billionaire and his troubled property giant, China Evergrande Group. And yet Hui was all smiles as bankers dialed into a video-conference with him earlier this month. Ignore the headlines, the rumors, the short-sellers and the noise, Hui told the bankers, according to a person familiar with the call. Evergrande — its stock cratering, its bonds pointing toward potential default — would get through this.