The poster for the documentary”Pahim International Airport”, Pang Yuliang stands on the airport runway in the center of the screen. (Data Map/Picture)
Henan businessman Pang Yuliang had a glorious moment in 2007-claiming to have invested one billion in the acquisition of Pachim Airport in Germany, and was known as the first overseas acquisition of airports in the history of civil aviation in China.
Thirteen years later, he seems to have been forgotten. Only the German media still thought of him.
In 2019, according to a report by the German”Le Monde”, the city of Schwerin officially filed for bankruptcy proceedings for Pachim Airport under Pang Yuliang’s name on May 19, 2019.
From 2020, courts in Shenzhen, Beijing, Henan and many other places have listed Pang Yuliang and many senior executives of Linde International as dishonest persons.
In the past 13 years, what happened to Pang Yuliang’s utopian airport revival plan?
Who is Pang Yuliang?
In March 2005, Schwerin, where the German Pachim Airport is located, and Zhengzhou signed a sister city agreement.
According to”Global Entrepreneur” magazine, Klaus Grutzmacher, a former East German diplomat and Henan Province economic adviser, told Li Chengyu, then governor of Henan Province, that There is an airport in Parchim waiting for sale.
Before, British businessmen and the Mecklenburg-Vorpommern state government, where the airport is located, have injected huge sums of money into Pachim Airport, but no one can revitalize the project.
After hearing the news of the sale of Parchim Airport, Pang Yuliang immediately went to the site to investigate and initiated the acquisition in 2007. Among Pang Yuliang’s competitors are world giants such as FedEx and Emirates. In May 2007, he won the purchase agreement of Pachim International Airport and its affiliated land, and obtained freehold property rights of 850 hectares of German land.
Chinese businessmen bought German airports and it was a sensation. A head of the propaganda department of the Zhumadian City Committee recalled to the Southern Weekend reporter that he didn’t know who Pang Yuliang was at the time. Some media asked him. Just to find out which village he is from.
Pang Yuliang’s hometown is Pangjiazhuang, Shangcai County, Zhumadian City, Henan Province. In the German documentary film”Pachim International Airport”, ten years ago, Pangjiazhuang was still a muddy road, and most of the depressed villages were old people.
“Global Entrepreneur” magazine once interviewed Pang Yuliang. According to this report, Pang was the only college student in the village at that time and the first Shangcai person to do business abroad. After graduating from university in 1988, Pang Yuliang, who was excellent in English, was assigned to Beijing New World Hotel. This is a four-star hotel located in Chongwenmenwai Street, Beijing. Three years later, Pang Yuliang jumped into the Chinese department of Northwest Airlines and began to contact the air cargo business.
He recalled that his first pot of gold was in the mid-1990s. He joined Aidi International Transportation Agency Co., Ltd. as the deputy general manager, and later reorganized the company and changed its name to Linde International. At that time, almost all freight forwarding companies were affiliated with various institutions. Private individuals could not set up freight forwarding companies, and the registered capital threshold was as high as 5 million yuan. .
In 2006, Pang Yuliang won the bid for the Zhengzhou International Aviation Logistics Park project. According to public information, the project covers an area of 300 acres with a total investment of 300 million yuan. Officially, the project can achieve an annual operating income of 150 million US dollars and establish an international aviation logistics network radiating the world. But in 2018, the aviation logistics park company was cancelled.
“Your plan is too ambitious”
“In China, we have a saying called’throwing bricks and attracting jade’, Parsim will become China and connect Europe I am the one who throws bricks.” At the investment introduction meeting held at Pachim Airport in 2008, Pang Yuliang introduced to the Germans in English.
Pachim Airport is close to the Baltic Sea, within 150 kilometers from the capital Berlin and the second largest city Hamburg. Located in the hinterland of Europe. It was used as a military airport by the Soviet Union in World War II.
Pang Yuliang once stated to the media that he hopes to turn the airport’s affiliated bonded economic cooperation zone and logistics park into a duty-free zone, introduce clothing, daily necessities, automobile and other manufacturing industries, and allow them to enter the bonded economic cooperation zone for production and assembly , And finally marked the origin of the product as”Made in Germany” to circumvent the EU’s anti-dumping lawsuits.
In a meeting with a local government official of Pahim, he said that Pahim Airport will be benchmarked against Dubai International Airport, becoming a visa-free airport city integrating logistics and freight, bonded trade, shopping and tourism.
In the documentary, Pang Yuliang promised to local officials,”We will build new terminals, hotels, and duty-free shops here to attract a large number of people from China, Dubai, Russia, and Passengers from Nigeria come. I believe there will be tourists coming in in the next two months.”
“So what’s your next plan?” Local Officials are more concerned about the airport reconstruction plan. Pang Yuliang replied,”That’s the job of the construction contractor.” Instead, he introduced his long-term cooperative relationship with multinational airlines,”This is another big business.” The other party asked,”Your plan is too ambitious, how long do you want to achieve it? Two years? Five years? Or 20 years?”
At a domestic trade promotion conference in 2010, Pang Yuliang To the Nigerian and Chinese audience in the audience, “I asked Nigerian officials why Nigeria did not consider having its own industrial park in Germany?” Pang Yuliang wanted to make Pahim an “overseas enclave” ( flying land), a typical example is the Golden Triangle Special Economic Zone in Southeast Asia, where the goods do not need to pay import duties and other taxes before this transaction.
Linde International, a subsidiary of Pang Yuliang, announced in 2010 that it had signed a cooperation agreement with the”Hong Kong Golden Kapok Group. Hong Kong Golden Kapok will invest in the gaming industry at Pachim Airport in Germany, while Linde International will invest in the bonded logistics industry of the Golden Triangle Special Economic Zone of Laos to which Hong Kong Golden Kapok belongs.
Get involved in the gambling industry, let Pang Yuliang cooperate with the Australian real estate company Goodman (Goodman ) An argument broke out.
In the documentary, Pang Yuliang pointed to an area on the planning map and introduced to the person in charge of Goodman,”We are building a casino here, operated by operators from Macau, and they can make money.” Interrupting him,”I don’t have much confidence in building a casino. A license is required to set up a casino in Europe.”
“What about building in an international transit zone? This is not within the jurisdiction of the European Union.” Pang Yuliang asked. The other party reminded him,”I’m not sure if I can do this. I must be very, very cautious about this matter.”
Southern Weekend once reported in the article”Mekong Undercurrent”, starting in April 2011, There are 6 cases of interception, robbery and hijacking of Chinese ships, all related to Hong Kong Golden Kapok, and the backing involved timber and stone smuggling activities on the Mekong River.
In January 2018, the U.S. Treasury Department accused Zhao Wei, chairman of the Golden Kapok Group, and others for illegal activities such as drug smuggling, human trafficking, money laundering, bribery, and trafficking in wild animals, and listed them as a transnational criminal organization Sanctions blacklist.
Henan Free Trade Zone signed a cooperation agreement with Pang Yuliang, but no project was finally implemented. (Southern Weekend reporter Xu Tingfang/Picture)
The water of one billion injection of capital
Pang Yuliang originally announced that he would invest one billion to acquire Parchim Airport, but the real situation is not in this way.
According to many media reports such as the German Le Monde, in July 2007, Pang Yuliang formally took over the Pachim Airport. According to the initial agreement between Linde International and the Schwerin city government, the purchase price of the airport is 30 million euros and the land area is 850 hectares. In the future, an additional 70 million euros will be needed to renovate the airport, with a total investment of about 1 billion yuan.
Pang Yuliang promised to provide 1,000 jobs for the local area in addition to expanding the airport business. But the first financing went wrong.
Pang Yuliang should have paid 30 million euros, but the city government delayed it for a month, but it was still useless. Pang Yuliang explained to the media that because the domestic banks did not have a solution at the time, Linde International did not have the ability to mortgage large sums. Pang Yuliang took out the letter of guarantee issued by UBA Bank in Nigeria, but still could not resolve it.
The municipal government has once again allowed the purchase period to be extended to March 2008, and only needs to pay 12 million euros.
Pang Yuliang took a different approach and sold more than 50 hectares of land to Australia’s Goodman Group by using the terms of the agreement that the land can be divided, transferred and leased, and received 13 million euros to solve part of the funding problem . Because Linde International did not really obtain the ownership of the land, 13 million euros went directly to the local government’s account.
In February 2010, Pang Yuliang asked the council to exempt the remaining purchase money. After the three-month extension, the local council passed a resolution to lower the purchase price of the airport. Pang Yuliang only needs to pay another 5 million euros, and it will be paid in 5 years and 1 million euros a year.
Udo Mitzlaff, a senior reporter of the local Schwerin People’s Daily, told the Southern Weekend reporter that Pang Yuliang’s cost was far higher than expected. Mitslav has long followed and reported the news of Parchim Airport and Pang Yuliang.
According to him, before the formal transfer of the airport to Linde International (from July 2007 to May 2008), Pang Yuliang had to bear a monthly maintenance fee of 160,000 Euros to pay employees’ salaries . This fund was originally spent by the local government until the actual completion of the acquisition, and Pang Yuliang paid nearly one million euros to retain the contract.
Secondly, the airport is nominally 850 hectares, but the actual land use only accounts for about one-third. The surrounding large areas of woodland do not belong to the scope of construction land, and the core area of more than 50 hectares has been sold to ancient Deman,”It is very difficult to change the properties of forest land. The value of the land at Pachim Airport is far from as high as imagined.” Mitslav said.
The exemption is also conditional-Pang Yuliang needs to build a new observation tower in 2011, and invest at least 7 million euros in the expansion of the airport. The original observation tower is too old and will soon exceed its useful life. If there is no new tower, the airport will face closure.
Pang Yuliang received two loans from the Export-Import Bank of China in December 2010, amounting to 103.2 million yuan and 30.9 million US dollars. He promised that the funds will be used to expand the airport and build an observation tower.
The local German media criticized the government for easily selling assets at a low price. Compared with the original 100 million euros, Pang Yuliang’s actual purchase price has shrunk to less than 20%.
In the seesaw with the local government, Pang Yuliang seems to have figured out the fate of the other party. He told the media that the local government is most worried about corporate bankruptcy and employee unemployment. Before the sale of Parchim Airport, the local government needs to subsidize the airport 2 million euros every year.
According to Pang Yuliang’s previous calculations, the annual operating cost of Parchim Airport is about 3 million euros. For the take-off and landing of an aircraft, the airport charges 5,000 euros, and the loading and unloading fees are 5,000 euros. If it enters the bonded warehouse, there will be an income of about 5,000 euros. These are all net profits. Rough calculation, as long as one plane takes off and landed a day, the airport can cover the cost.
However, Pang Yuliang was out of luck. The international crude oil price has soared since 2004, from around US$30 per barrel to US$170 per barrel in 2008, which dealt a huge blow to Parchim’s freight business.
In August 2011, German Chancellor Merkel flew from Berlin to Pachim Airport by special helicopter. In June 2012, the famous British singer Elton John landed on a special plane at Parchim Airport, which caused heated discussions among local residents.
But the star effect did not accelerate the speed of the excavator on site.
After several delays, Parchim Airport started the construction of a new observation tower in October 2011. Without the observation tower, Parchim could not complete the shipping lift, let alone make a profit.
In 2012, Pang Yuliang’s Sina blog showed that in a QQ group of Linde International, Pang Yuliang is still selling bonded areas to domestic small and medium-sized merchants. In addition to transportation and logistics, Linde International is also engaged in e-commerce and dynamic supply. Chain financing, annual exhibition and sales of Chinese products.
“Open another casino, open a KTV, open a hotel, conference center, villa apartment, all.” An investor in the group replied,”The pool of President Pang is too big. It’s useless to throw ordinary stones in.”
The content of the blog shows that during this period, Pang Yuliang’s business acumen is rapidly turning-forests, ponds, animals, and timber near Pachim Airport are entering in turns. His vision.
So nervous, maybe because Pahim Airport is in a”missile” crisis.
At the beginning of 2014, in addition to the airport observation tower which is still under construction, the airport also started the expansion of the apron, and the space that could park two aircraft will be expanded to five. However, during the expansion process, airport operators often dig out ammunition and weapons left over from World War II, as well as kerosene. According to local government regulations, these removal costs will be borne by the local government, but this unexpectedly slowed the progress of the airport’s construction.
According to a report by the”Schwerin Volkswagen”, relevant German laws stipulate that these dangerous goods must be strictly tested before they can be removed, and even the excavator responsible for excavation must be equipped with bulletproof glass.
The head of Goodman complained to the media that it was a waste of time. According to Pang Yuliang and Goodman’s vision, in addition to expanding the apron, the airport must also expand the runway at the same time. The latter item alone costs more than 30 million euros.”At this rate, it is estimated that it will not be completed within three years.” /p>
Although the aforementioned expansion project was funded by Goodman, it has greatly affected airport operations. For every month the airport is consumed, Pang Yuliang has to pay nearly 200,000 euros in operating costs.
Mitzlaff jokingly calls it”German bureaucracy,” and the rigid Germans have reached the point where they are critical in their procedures.
In May 2015, the airport’s new observation tower was completed and opened. The 37-meter-high observation tower took more than three years to build. According to the data provided by Linde International, it cost a total of 3 million euros. However, the”missile crisis” at the airport has not been resolved until the second half of 2016, and the airport has also clashed with the local government-the airport needs an additional 400,000 euros to complete the investigation and cleanup work, but the local government only agreed to pay 250,000 EUR.
According to German media reports, after 2013, the sound of aircraft landing at the airport has become less and less. In 2014 alone, the airport recorded more than 8,300 flights, but 6,100 of them were training flights and belonged to aviation The company’s landing and take-off exercises.
The locals are getting more and more worried, and Pahim Airport seems unsustainable. Due to the lack of freight business, Pang Yuliang announced in 2015 that Parchim will focus on passenger transportation. He will build a luxurious outlet shopping city in the airport with supporting facilities including hotels, museums, and gyms.
According to the”Schwerin Volkswagen” report, the last time Pachim received passengers was in 2007. In the following ten years, no passenger plane stopped at Pachim Airport, but Pang Yuliang went to Pachi The operating expenses of the airport have exceeded 26 million euros.
Pang Yuliang built a rough house for his family in the village. (Southern Weekend reporter Xu Tingfang/photo)
Returning to China to attract investment
Since 2012, Pang Yuliang has accelerated the pace of returning to China to attract investment.
Yiwu businessman Wang Jin once received Pang Yuliang around 2012. Pang Yuliang stated to him ambitiously that more than 60,000 Yiwu merchandise stores will be moved to Germany, and Chinese-made products will be stored in the Parchim Airport Bonded Park for display, so that local middlemen can directly pick up the goods in the warehouse.
Wang Jin told the Southern Weekend reporter that at that time the EU’s anti-dumping measures were getting more and more severe, and many foreign trade exporters were looking for new landing channels. Bonded port storage such as Pachim might be a possibility.
Pang Yuliang has successively signed cooperation intentions with many local governments, including Nanjing High-tech Zone, Shenyang Comprehensive Bonded Zone, Shandong Linyi Comprehensive Bonded Zone, Xi’an International Port Area, and Manzhouli Municipal People’s Government.
In the cooperation with Linyi, Pang Yuliang and Linyi City Transnational Procurement Center jointly funded the establishment of Linyi Global IOT Supply Development Co., Ltd. Linyi rented Pang Yuliang’s bonded warehouse in Frankfurt, Germany for merchandise display to help export companies open Reputation.
“Foreign businessmen have their own fixed procurement channels. The Frankfurt Annual Fair is relatively well-known in Germany and can attract more people.” Wang Jin explained to the Southern Weekend reporter. Before contacting Pang Yuliang, he was engaged in export trade for nearly 20 years. He had never heard of this place in Pahim.
Perhaps Pang Yuliang also understands Parchim’s disadvantages. As early as 2012, he applied to the German Customs Administration to register at the Frankfurt AirportSet up a customs-supervised cargo station to connect Pachim with the Port of Hamburg and Frankfurt Airport and attract merchants to Pachim through Frankfurt.
The airport has been under construction for a long time and there is almost no shipping business. In 2015, Pang Yuliang made his last fight and established a cross-border e-commerce company. He named the project”Dimao” against Alibaba’s Tmall Global.
Zhang He was one of the persons in charge of this project at the time. He recalled to the Southern Weekend reporter that at that time the group divided its business into two major sections, one is real estate (Pachim Airport) and the other is Ground cat, later changed its name to Parsim International Mall.
The Chinese website of Passim International Mall is still there. Southern Weekend reporters tried to buy a hand cream made in Germany from the website, but they could not place an order.
In August 2017, Mitslav learned in an interview that the only 25 employees at Parchim Airport worked only six hours a day in the past year, and employees have rarely seen Pang Yuliang. Silhouette. He used to be in Pahim at this time of the year, and he once told employees that he liked the summer here.
In October 2017, Linde International announced the latest financial report to the local government. The airport’s income in recent years mainly comes from Lufthansa For the training flight of the aviation pilot school, the company has a net debt of 2.8 million euros. This does not include some outstanding bills and some employee salaries. Pang Yuliang no longer serves as the managing director of Parchim Airport.
One month ago, Pang Yuliang also participated in the bid for Air Berlin and wanted to bid 600 million euros Take pictures of this old German airline.
Pang Yuliang finally turned his attention to cooperation back to his hometown of Henan.
According to local Henan media reports, in December 2017, Linde International signed a tripartite cooperation agreement with the Parchim Airport Management Company and the Henan Provincial Free Trade Office to establish a”Henan -Pahim Free Trade Cooperation Zone”.
One week later, the Xuchang municipal government signed a strategic cooperation agreement with Pang Yuliang to jointly build a cross-border economic and trade cooperation park And cross-border e-commerce base.
Xuchang City Bureau of Commerce Deputy Director Zhao Siliang explained to the Southern Weekend reporter that Xuchang’s annual export to Germany The value is only 30 to 40 million, and the total amount is not large. These cooperation projects are only strategic intentions and have not actually landed.
An”Interaction Development Zone Proposal” shows that Xuchang was approved as a bonded logistics center in May 2020, and in September, it was approved as the province’s first pilot state-level market procurement trade method. Mum Airport is an important part of it.
Pang Yuliang’s hometown of Zhumadian is also fascinated by the linkage area. In May 2018, the city government and Linde International signed a long-term cooperative relationship. In January 2019, Pang Yuliang was hired by Zhumadian City as a member of the first Think Tank Committee for Economic Development of the Municipal Government.
The above-mentioned Zhumadian official stated that the municipal government did issue a letter of appointment, but there was no specific project. “The leaders have been changed. At that time, I heard that (Pachim) had planned well, but the subsequent financing The situation is not very good.”
At this time, Pang Yuliang has long been hard to return. Since 2018, lawsuits against Pang Yuliang and his subsidiary companies followed one after another, including transportation contract disputes and many debt recovery cases.
2019 is the final repayment deadline set by the Export-Import Bank. On July 19, 2019, the Fourth Intermediate People’s Court of Beijing announced that it had officially opened the case and ordered Pang Yuliang to repay nearly 250 million yuan in debt.
The above-mentioned court inquired about Pang Yuliang’s property information in various places, but did not find any property available for enforcement. The only property under his name located in Tongzhou District, Beijing, has been disposed of by the People’s Court of Haidian District, Beijing. Pang Yuliang was also included in the list of untrustworthy persons subject to enforcement by the court.
Until the bankruptcy, Pang Yuliang was not known to many people in Zhumadian. The younger generation in the village only calls him second uncle. Another elderly villager who claimed to be his distant relative pointed to the two tallest five-story concrete buildings in the village and said that Pang Yuliang paid for the two buildings with the village’s homestead, saying that they would live in the children of his nephew’s generation. .
New poverty alleviation file cards are hung at the door of every household in the village. A villager who claimed to be Pang Yuliang’s uncle told the Southern Weekend reporter that the last time she saw Pang Yuliang was the Spring Festival in 2019.
The four brothers and sisters of the Pang family are scattered all over the country. Pang Yuliang, the second child, often travels to Beijing. His younger brother ran transportation in Zhengzhou. The older brother took his grandfather’s shift and worked in Zhumadian. When his mother was alive, Pang Yuliang would come back to see him. After the old man died three years ago, the villagers rarely saw him.
The Southern Weekend reporter expressed his request for an interview through Secretary Pang Yuliang. Pang Yuliang said it was inconvenient to accept the interview.
(At the request of the interviewee, Wang Jin and Zhang He are pseudonyms)
Southern Weekend reporter Xu Tingfang