Friday, March 18, 2005

Someone asked me who the next head of SAFE would be. I don't really know, but I will assign some probability:

It’s really anyone’s guess. The most obvious candidates are current PBOC vice-heads, especially Wu Xiaolin (30%) and Su Ning (20%), and perhaps Li Ruogu (20%). I would give slightly better odds on Wu, who is a favorite of Zhu and who can really use a boost in her resume. The other possibility is to choose one of the vice heads of SAFE. Of those, Wei Benhua(10%) has the most international experience, as he represented China at the IMF for several years. The other possibility is Deng Xianhong(10%), who is part of the Tigaiwei mafia. Essentially, in the late 80s and early 90s, a group of young researchers who worked at the Tigaiwei are now pretty powerful, including Guo himself. The weakness of these two is that they don’t have Ph.Ds, which is increasingly a prerequisite for a top technocrat these days. There is an outside chance that one of the vice-presidents of BOC or CCB will be elevated, but I wouldn’t know who (10%)。

A bit more on picking Guo. It is rather surprising that Guo was picked, since two other leading technocrat at Guo's level played an even more important role in preparing BOC and CCB for the IPO. They are Tang Shuangning (current vice head of CBRC) and Li Ruogu (current vice head of PBOC). Tang Shuangning sat on a top level working group specializing on the IPO issue and presumably knows CCB quite well. Li Ruogu, likewise, has made serious study of the impending IPO for the two banks. Given their expertise, they would have been ideal candidates to shepard CCB through the IPO process. Guo's choice, as I say in the previous posting, stems from both Zhu's influence and the fact that he is internationally well-known.

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