Good evening. Let’s get right to it: Part 2 of Katrina Northrop’s special investigation into Wynn Resorts and the confounding $50 million payment the company made in Macau a decade ago. Last week, in Part 1, Katrina recreated the deal, the mysterious men on the receiving end of it (Ho Ho and Ho Hoi), and the red flags it raised from the start. Now, in Part 2, she shows how she confirmed that Ho Ho and Ho Hoi were aliases, and she delves into the fascinating backgrounds, inexplicable business practices, and elite connections of the two men — the brothers He.
Elsewhere, we have infographics on China’s wealthiest citizens; an interview with Keith Krach on weaponizing trust; a reported piece on China’s moves into the Gulf region; and an op-ed by Nancy Qian about what China’s zero-COVID drama foreshadows. If you’re not already a paid subscriber to The Wire, please sign up here.
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The Brothers He
A decade ago, Wynn Resorts did a $50 million deal in Macau with two mysterious men: Ho Ho and Ho Hoi. For the first time, The Wire is confirming that these were aliases for two brothers from an elite Beijing military family. And far from quelling any longstanding rumors, the He brothers’ background and involvement in the deal only raise more questions about the murky waters that U.S. casino companies waded through to set up shop in the Chinese territory. This is Part Two of Katrina Northrop’s special investigation.
The Big Picture: Money Makers
China’s rich have only gotten richer, according to two recent reports. This week’s infographics by Eliot Chen look at wealth in China: its magnitude, how it’s being spent and invested, and the yawning inequality gap that has only grown in the Xi era.
A Q&A with Keith Krach
Keith Krach was a business veteran (General Motors, Ariba, DocuSign) but a novice to government when he joined the Trump administration in June 2019 as under secretary of state for economic growth, energy, and the environment. In government, Krach was an advocate for using sanctions, subsidies, and alliances to try to keep the U.S. ahead of China technologically. In this week’s Q&A with Bob Davis — part of our series Rules of Engagement — he talks about pushing back against Huawei; ‘tech statecraft’; and weaponizing trust.
Illustration by Kate Copeland
China Moves into the Gulf
With Xi’s recent visit, China is competing strongly for influence in the Gulf region. As Isabella Borshoff reports, the sheer scale of China’s financial ties with the Middle East have even raised the question of whether it could replace the U.S. as the region’s key power broker.
What China’s Zero-COVID Drama Foreshadows
The good news for the Chinese people is that the recent protests were dispersed with little bloodshed, and the end of pandemic restrictions is finally in sight. The bad news, argues Nancy Qian in this week’s op-ed, is that the public’s rejection of the government’s COVID rules raises the political stakes of the next controversial policy.
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