Hong is managing director and head of research at BOCOM International, the investment banking arm of Bank of Communications, a state-owned bank and China’s fifth largest.
“All content has been blocked. The user is banned from using the account,” a notice posted on the WeChat account said. It added that the account had “violated” government’s internet rules, without going into details. It also did not specify which post had led to the suspension.
Covid lockdowns have taken a heavy toll on the world’s second biggest economy. The latest government survey data — released Saturday — shows activity across manufacturing and services slumping to its lowest level since February 2020.
Hong and BOCOM International did not respond to requests for comment on the social media suspensions. Weibo didn’t reply either.
He’s not alone in expressing growing concern about the health of China’s economy and markets.
Chinese regulators have stepped up their scrutiny of social media amid rising public discontent over Covid lockdowns in the country.
Chinese tech giants have been clamping down on people making negative comments about the economy since last year. In October, Tencent suspended more than 1,400 WeChat accounts after the government launched a crackdown on internet posts that it deems are harmful to the economy.
Tencent said the accounts had made bearish calls about financial markets, “distorted” the interpretation of economic policies, or spread rumors. A public account run by Chen Guo, chief strategist for Shenzhen-based Essence Securities, was among them.
Likely trigger for the social media ban?
It’s not entirely clear which of Hong Hao’s posts triggered the most recent ban.
The last reports posted on his WeChat public account were titled: “Be wary of capital flight” and “What should Chinese ADRs worry about.” ADRs are securities issued by Chinese firms listed in the United States.
In another note on March 21, Hong also predicted the Shanghai Composite would drop below 3,000 points.
China’s stock market is the second worst performing in the world so far this year, behind Russia, according to Refinitiv Eikon.