Zhao Weiguo, the former head of a sprawling Chinese conglomerate with state-backed investments in the global technology sector, has been investigated by officials in Beijing, according to local media.
The 54-year-old, who ran cash-strapped chip giant Tsinghua Unigroup for a decade, has been out of touch after being taken from his home by authorities in mid-July, Caixin reported, a respected Chinese business publication.
The Financial Times has not independently verified the case. Tsinghua did not immediately comment. No further details about the investigation were released.
The report of Zhao’s arrest comes after years of heightened scrutiny of state-backed Tsinghua by investors and the Chinese government after Zhao struggled to repay and refinance its large debts. the company
The company originated at Tsinghua University in Beijing, China’s most prestigious engineering school, in the late 1980s. Zhao took over in 2009.
He rose from obscurity by herding animals in Xinjiang, the western region of China, to study at Tsinghua in the 1980s. He went on to make a fortune in property and established links with senior members of the Chinese government.
Zhao benefited from state support during Hu Jintao’s administration and is believed to have maintained a close personal relationship with the former president’s son, Hu Haifeng, according to analysis by the Cercius Group, a consultancy based in in Montreal specializing in Chinese elite politics.