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China debt crunch

The rise and fall of Evergrande founder Xu Jiayin

'Red lines' drawn by central bank in 2020 strike down China's richest man

Evergrande Chairman Xu Jiayin, who rode Deng Xiaoping's "reform and opening-up" policy from rags to riches, risks losing everything. (Source photos by AP and AFP/Jiji) 

SHANGHAI -- Xu Jiayin built China Evergrande Group into one of China's largest property developers in less than 25 years. Holding more than 70% of the company, the founder has had full command of its operations. But his colossus is now mired in debt of about 2 trillion yuan ($312 billion) and this week appeared to be days away from being officially declared in default.

Born to a poor family in Henan Province, Xu took advantage of China's reform and opening-up policy to become the country's wealthiest man.

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