Larry Hsien Ping Lang, Chair Professor of Finance at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, began publishing a series of articles in 2004 exposing allegedly flawed management buy-outs (MBOs) during the restructuring of some state-owned enterprises (SOEs). The U.S.-educated economist argued that private entrepreneurs on the Chinese mainland have depressed the value of state-owned assets to buy them at lower prices. Lang also suggested some SOE managers embezzled state-owned assets via MBO reforms.
The companies under Lang's direct questioning about irregular merger and acquisition deals included Hong Kong-listed Greencool Group and electric appliance giants Haier and TCL. His fierce attacks earned him the nickname "supervisor Lang." Lang went on to condemn the widening wealth gap in China by saying "100 million people becoming better-off has made the other 1.2 billion people even poorer."
Though no official response was directly made to address the problems Lang raised, the State-Owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission announced in December 2004 that MBOs could no longer be conducted in large SOEs and issued a series of regulations against irregularities in future MBOs of SOEs.