The head of China’s CIC, Ding Xuedong, has stepped down from his role at the $810 billion sovereign wealth fund, according to an account in mainland business website Caixin on Friday.
Ding’s resignation comes amid a broad reshuffle of China’s economic team ahead of the mid-term leadership changeover expected later this year in Beijing, with speculation that the 56-year-old may be in line for a higher level role in the country’s economic team.
Led the Move into Direct Investment
Under Ding’s management CIC, which is charged with investing China’s foreign reserves, has gradually moved away from a reliance on US Treasuries and other liquid instruments to become one of the world’s largest investors in infrastructure and real estate.
In January 2015 Ding set up CIC Capital Corp, a subsidiary dedicated to making direct investment and managing fund investments. Just last month the sovereign wealth fund chief told a forum in Hong Kong that CIC is looking for more opportunities in alternative investments in the US, including private equity and hedge funds. In 2016 Ding indicated in a statement that the fund would place more emphasis on real estate after losing money on investments in securities in 2015.
China Sets Up Its New Economic Team
In addition to Ding’s move, during recent weeks, changes in the top roles at China’s banking regulator, Ministry of Commerce and top economic planning body have all become apparent.
On Friday, Vice Commerce Minister Zhong Shan, who previously worked for president Xi Jinping in Zhejiang province was named the new Minister of Commerce after Commerce Minister Gao Hucheng retired upon reaching the official retirement age. Also assigned to a new role at the end of the week was He Lifeng, who takes over the directorship of the National Development and Reform Commission, according to official news agency Xinhua.
Shandong governor Guo Shuqing, is rumored to be in line to take over the China Banking Regulatory Commission, which oversees the nation’s banks, after recently stepping down from the top post in the eastern Chinese province.
Ding a Long-Term MOF Veteran
Ding took the reins at CIC in 2013, succeeding Lou Jiwei who had been selected as finance minister earlier that year. A replacement for Ding has yet to be announced.
Most of Ding’s career has been with China’s Ministry of Finance, where he served as a vice minister before joining CIC. The native of Jiangsu province also has chaired China International Capital Corp, a leading mainland investment bank since 2014.