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Shuli Ren

The Nervous Billionaire’s Guide to China’s Communist Birthday Bash

Paranoid investors will be parsing which moguls show up at the 100th anniversary to figure out who’s in and who’s out among China’s many billionaires.  

A once in a century bash

A once in a century bash

Photographer: WANG ZHAO/AFP

Judging from the patriotic floral arrangements sprawling over city squares, preparations for the 100th birthday of China’s Communist Party are over the top. Most of the population of 1.4 billion are focused on the big fireworks displays and extravagant parades. But investors, financial bloggers and speculators have specific sightings in mind: The Chinese billionaires who desperately want to be seen at the right flag-waving ceremonies. Who’s there — and who’s not — could spark market pyrotechnics. 

An invitation to Beijing’s big parties is a tremendous privilege and a sign of official favor. Baidu Inc.’s Robin Li has been invited three times to China’s Independence Day celebrations. Also prominent among the chief executives and tycoons at the parades is Dong Mingzhu of Gree Electric Appliances Inc. of Zhuhai, a prominent female entrepreneur. 

The 70th anniversary of the People’s Republic on Oct. 1, 2019 saw Lei Jun, chairman of the $90 billion smartphone and smart home appliances maker Xiaomi Corp., riding high amid flower-waving marchers. On Weibo, a popular microblog service, Lei said how proud and excited he was to be parading through Tiananman Square and seen by the motherland and the people.