Famed Chinese actress Vicki Zhao Wei’s career as the ‘Queen of Stock’ has come to a dramatic end: she has barred from trading mainland stocks for five years.
The 42 year-old actress-turned-stock market eagle first shot to fame on account of her leading role in the My Fair Princess TV series in the 1990s. Following a switch of careers, however, she has raked in billions of yuan in just a few years playing the Hong Kong and China stock markets.
Yesterday, however, Zhao – along with her husband Huang Youlong – were sanctioned by the China Securities Regulatory Commission for seriously misleading the market in their bid to take over of Zhejiang Sunriver, an animation company.
Both – along with various executive directors and partners in their business – were fined 300,000 yuan (US$45,206), as part of the punishment meted out by the watchdog.
Longwei Culture and Media, which is controlled by the couple, attempted to take over Sunriver for 3 billion yuan last year but walked away after failing to raise sufficient funds for the acquisition beyond a borrowed sum of some 1.5 billion yuan from an asset management company owned by Xiao Jianhua, a mainland tycoon who fled to Hong Kong and hid himself in the Four Seasons hotel in Central after falling foul of political allies and corruption investigators. Xiao has been missing since January, after being abducted from the hotel.
The ban follows the release of the so-called Paradise Papers, a dump of files relating to offshore companies obtained by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.
They reveal that, in 2011, Zhao co-invested US$80million in a Mongolian mining project with Lim Kok Thay, chairman of the Malaysia-based Genting Group.
Zhao made a killing in 2015 after she paid HK$3.1 billion for a stake in a company that later became Ali Pictures following a takeover by Jack Ma’s Alibaba Group that led the stock to soar.
That year saw her become more active and she co-invested, along with Ma, in Yunfeng Financial. She later took a 67.5% stake of Sino Golf Holdings.
At one time, Zhao and her husband were reported to own total assets of 5.66 billion yuan, with a portfolio covering stocks, property, film, wine and restaurants, including a stake in Hong Kong’s famous Seventh Son.
Her original fanbase has become somewhat less enamored with her new identity as a billionaire, however. Indeed, she is often the subject of online gossip about her wilyness in amassing her fortune. Maybe now that she can’t buy and sell stocks she’ll consider resuming her acting career.