Two months after being expelled from the Shanghai Stock Exchange, Chinese magnate Wang Jing emerged from the shadows to congratulate Nicaraguan president Daniel Ortega and his wife Rosario Murillo for their “reelection”. The couple’s continuity in power was affirmed on Sunday, November 7th, via a highly questioned electoral process. In 2013, Wang Jing promised to construct an inter-oceanic canal across Nicaragua at an initial cost of 40 billion dollars, a price tag that later rose to 50 billion. In the end, the project never got underway.
Nevertheless, on Thursday, November 11, Wang affirmed in a public letter to Ortega that the Hong Kong-Nicaragua Canal Development Investment Company Ltd. (HKND Group) and himself still maintain “faith in the great canal project” for Nicaragua.
“The HKND Group and myself firmly believe that under the leadership of President Daniel Ortega, Vice President Rosario Murillo, and Compañero Laureano Ortega, the Nicaraguan people will continue promoting social progress and economic development for Nicaragua, overcoming all the difficulties in the road. The great people of Nicaragua and the great people of China will deepen the reestablishment of the historic ties of friendship between us, and Nicaragua will surely be converted into an indispensable pivot point along the strip and the route,” wrote the Chinese businessman.
In September, Wang and his company, Beijing Xinwei Technology Group Ltd., were expelled for a ten-year period from the Chinese stock market. Following the sanctions, the value of the Xinwei Group’s stock fell into the red, constituting a 2.3 billion dollar debt. This “created major financial turmoil for over 100,000 of their stockholders,” read an article published by the Epoch Times, a New York-based international media outlet specializing in Chinese news.
Billions lost in the stock market
It wasn’t the first time that Wang Jing’s stock market ventures ended in huge losses.
In October 2015, following a general drop in the Chinese markets, the tycoon’s fortunes plummeted, and he lost an estimated 9.1 billion US dollars, representing 89.2% of the US $10.2 billion dollar fortune he had accumulated.
The erratic behavior of his stocks continued. On June 26, 2017, the company paid out dividends amounting to 0.009 renminbis per share. A renmimbi – literally “the peoples’ currency” – is the name of a Chinese currency unit, known to the rest of the world as a Yen. In June 2017, a Yen was valued at 15 US cents, according to the information available online. This means that each share was worth less than one-seventh of a US cent.
Beginning with the second half of 2019, “Xinwei Group’s trading was banned after more than 900 days of suspension. After falling for 36 consecutive days, the company set a record for consecutive A-share losses, with market value evaporating nearly $29.5 billion,” reporter Julia Ye noted in the Epoch Times. This affected more than 150,000 shareholders[SH1] .
In March 2020, when Wang Jing had long disappeared from the Nicaraguan horizon, the markets echoed yet another disaster in his business dealings, when the value of his shares dropped nearly 45.8%, reducing still further his nominal fortune.
Canal concession remains on the books
At the end of September, news of Wang Jing’s expulsion from the Shanghai Stock Exchange generated expectations that Ortega might finally cancel the canal concession he granted the Chinese magnate in 2013. The concession would supposedly remain in force for a 100-year period.
The approval of the canal law, with its threat of expropriating any property deemed necessary, even if it lay outside the official boundaries of the concession, generated a wave of dissent, especially among the farm sector. The law’s passage underlined their risk of being thrown off their own land. Nearly a hundred organized marches were carried out, protesting the law that Ortega had promoted.
While the canal concession and the related law remains on the books, Nemesio Mejia, director of the National Council in Defense of Our Land, Lakes and Sovereignty, discounted the possible revitalization of the canal project. “It has no strength, more so when you have a country that’s in pieces, with a destroyed economy, and an international community that no longer recognizes the projects of Daniel Ortega.”