China’s Million-Dollar Economist Leaves Evergrande for Soochow

One of China’s highest-paid macro analysts has left developer China Evergrande Group to return to the securities sector.

Ren Zeping, chief economist at the real estate company and head of Evergrande Research Institute, has joined Soochow Securities Co. as its chief economist, the brokerage said in a written reply to Bloomberg. He thanked Evergrande’s Chairman Hui Ka Yan in a post on his social media account Friday.

Evergrande didn’t immediately reply to a request for comment.

Ren drew public attention when he joined Evergrande in late 2017 with an annual salary that reached 15 million yuan ($2.3 million), according to local media. Some Chinese developers have started in-house research arms in recent years to navigate swiftly changing property policies and help devise long-term strategy.

Ren was one of the few China watchers to call the nation’s stock boom-and-bust cycle in 2015. In August 2014, he began predicting that the Shanghai Stock Exchange Composite Index could reach 5,000 points after being in a bear market for years. While that entailed more than doubling the level at the time, Ren said his call was “emboldened by the Party.” Then in April 2015 he warned that the rally might have gone too far, and in May said “the market has gone crazy.” The Shanghai Composite peaked in mid-June and almost halved over the ensuing months.

China’s Million-Dollar Economist Leaves Evergrande for Soochow

He also made his name among retail investors by predicting in 2015 that home prices in tier-one cities would double within a decade. Ren used to be a researcher at the State Council’s Development Research Center before working as an economist at Guotai Junan Securities Co. and Founder Securities Co.

Soochow’s former Chief Economist Chen Li will serve as global chief strategy officer, as well as vice chairman of its operation in Hong Kong, according to the securities firm’s reply.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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