China Resources appoints trusted hand as new chairman
Fu Yuning, who moves from China Merchants, is held in high regard by the leadership in Beijing
Fu Yuning, the newly appointed chairman of China Resources (Holdings) who replaces graft-tainted Song Lin, is an old Hong Kong hand who enjoys the trust of the central leadership.
Fu resigned as chairman of China Merchants Group yesterday, according to the website of the company. China Merchants and China Resources, both headquartered in Hong Kong, are among the only three major state-owned enterprises that report directly to the central government which are headquartered outside the mainland.
"He has the trust of the central government. They want to put in a person who knows Hong Kong well, who has wide experience in managing listed companies and a background in state-owned enterprises, so he's the right choice. Beijing understands it needs a trustworthy person with a good track record for this post," said Willy Lin Sun-mo, chairman of the Hong Kong Shippers' Council.
Fu has spent most of his career in the shipping business. He was a member of the Hong Kong Port and Maritime Board between 2000 and 2003 and a member of the Hong Kong Port Development Council between 2011 and 2013.
He is also chairman of China International Marine Containers, a Shenzhen-listed firm, apart from being an independent non-executive director of Li & Fung, the biggest Hong Kong-listed trading house. He also did a stint as an independent non-executive director of CapitaLand, the biggest Singapore-listed property company.
Fu is said to have known President Xi Jinping for years. Last March, Xi and Tanzanian President Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete oversaw Fu, as chairman of China Merchants Group, signing with Tanzanian Finance Minister William Mgimwa an agreement to develop the Bagamoyo special economic zone in the African state.
The previous year, Fu was photographed next to Xi, then vice-president, at a meeting between Xi and more than 100 top executives of Chinese state-owned enterprises in Hong Kong. The meeting was chaired by Fu.
Fu is an advocate of reforms and the "going out" of Chinese companies to invest abroad. This January, The Australian reported Fu, as chairman of China Merchants Group, was considering investment opportunities in Australia such as toll roads and other infrastructure projects.
In an interview with Forbes Asia magazine in January last year, Fu said: "The government's interactions with business should be simplified."
Fu's ties with Hong Kong run deep. Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying appointed Fu as a member of the Economic Development Commission for two years from January 17, 2013.
He is also vice-chairman of the Hong Kong Chinese Enterprises Association and a member of the general committee of the Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce. He was a member of the advisory committee of the Securities and Futures Commission for two years from June 1, 2009.
Prior to being chairman of China Merchants Group from August 2010, Fu was president of China Merchants from April 2000 to August 2010. He is also chairman of various Hong Kong-listed subsidiaries of China Merchants Group, including China Merchants Bank, China Merchants China Direct Investments and China Merchants Holdings (International).
Fu joined China Merchants Group in December 1998, according to Xinhua.
Born in March 1957, he graduated from the Dalian Institute of Technology with a bachelor's degree in port and waterway engineering. He then obtained a doctorate in offshore engineering from Brunel University, in Britain, where he also worked as a post-doctorate research fellow from 1986 to 1987.