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Shimao Chairman Hui Wing Mau was one of the first entrepreneurs from Hong Kong to enter the mainland Chinese market during the reform period of the 1980s. (Source photos by AP and Reuters) 
Business Spotlight

China's Shimao fights to restore confidence as debt crisis spreads

Property market downturn hits Shanghai developer whose finances had not previously raised red flags

CK TAN, Nikkei staff writer | China

BEIJING -- When China embarked on market reforms in the 1980s, Hui Wing Mau was among the first businessmen in Hong Kong to enter the mainland, dabbling in plastics and textile manufacturing before alighting on the business that made him a billionaire: property.

Hui, born in China's eastern Fujian Province, tells the story of how, in order to attend an event in Central China in those early years, he had to change trains several times and stood during most of the 20-hour journey from Hong Kong. To make a phone call, he had to go to the post office and sometimes had to wait an hour for the call to get through.

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