Yonghong Shi is a Chinese businessman and the former owner and chairman of AC Milan, one of Italy’s most legendary football clubs. While his name may not be instantly recognizable to the avid football fan, his purchase and subsequent troubles with the club made headlines around the world. However, there is much more to Yonghong Shi and his family than meets the eye. Here are 10 things you probably didn’t know about Yonghong Shi and his family.

1. Business Ventures in China

Yonghong Shi made his fortune in the business world, primarily through his involvement in the Chinese real estate market. He founded Haixia Capital Group in 1996, a company focused on real estate development and investment. With his strong entrepreneurial skills, Shi successfully expanded his business ventures across various industries, including finance, culture, and health. His achievements in the business world established him as a prominent figure in China’s investment landscape.

In addition to his real estate ventures, Yonghong Shi also entered the entertainment industry. He founded Huaxia Film and Television Media Group, which specializes in the production and distribution of movies and television series. Shi’s diverse business portfolio showcases his ambition and adaptability in capturing different market opportunities.

2. AC Milan’s Acquisition and Financial Struggles

Yonghong Shi made headlines in 2017 when his investment vehicle, Rossoneri Sport Investment Lux, bought a majority stake in AC Milan. The acquisition of this prestigious football club for a reported €740 million was seen as a landmark moment in Chinese football investment. However, financial struggles soon plagued the club under Shi’s ownership.

Despite initially injecting capital into the club and making significant player acquisitions, AC Milan faced financial difficulties. The costly acquisitions and failure to comply with UEFA’s Financial Fair Play regulations resulted in a ban from European competitions and further financial strains. Eventually, Yonghong Shi was forced to sell his majority stake in AC Milan to American businessman Elliott Management in 2018, marking the end of his tumultuous ownership of the club.

3. Family Background and Privacy

Yonghong Shi prefers to keep his personal life and family background relatively private. Not many details are publicly available about his family, as he maintains a low profile outside of his business dealings. While Shi’s business ventures have gained attention, he rarely shares personal information, ensuring that the focus remains on his professional accomplishments rather than his personal life.

4. Philanthropic Efforts

Beyond his financial success, Yonghong Shi is actively engaged in philanthropic endeavors. He has made significant contributions to charitable causes in China, particularly in the fields of education and poverty alleviation. Shi’s dedication to giving back to his community showcases his commitment to using his wealth and influence for the betterment of society.

5. Legal Issues and Bankruptcy

Yonghong Shi’s troubles with AC Milan extended beyond financial constraints. Following the sale of the club, legal issues arose regarding the financing of the acquisition. Certain stakeholders accused Shi of providing false information during the purchase process. These allegations eventually led to a bankruptcy procedure against him.

In 2019, Yonghong Shi was declared bankrupt by a court in Luxembourg. This bankruptcy marked a significant fall from grace for the businessman, tarnishing his reputation and highlighting the challenges he faced in his dealings with AC Milan.

6. Return to the Business World

Despite the setbacks encountered during his ownership of AC Milan, Yonghong Shi has not shied away from the business world. Post-bankruptcy, Shi returned to China and resumed his involvement in the real estate industry. Although he may no longer be in the spotlight as he was during his AC Milan days, Shi continues to pursue his entrepreneurial ventures, applying the lessons learned from his challenging experience with the football club.

7. Global Interests and Investments

Yonghong Shi’s business interests are not limited to China. He has shown a keen interest in global investments and has explored opportunities outside his home country. While details are scarce, Shi reportedly has investments in various sectors, including real estate, finance, and technology, both in China and overseas. This global mindset demonstrates his willingness to navigate international markets and expand his business empire beyond national boundaries.

8. Global Recognition and Awards

Yonghong Shi’s achievements in the business world have earned him international recognition and numerous accolades. His entrepreneurial spirit and contributions to the Chinese economy have not gone unnoticed. Shi has received prestigious awards for his outstanding achievements, highlighting his influence and impact within the business community.

9. An Enigmatic Personality

Yonghong Shi is often described as an enigmatic figure due to his reserved nature and limited public appearances. Despite his involvement in high-profile business deals, he maintains a low-key presence and keeps his private life separate from his professional ventures. This air of mystery surrounding Shi contributes to his intrigue and the curiosity surrounding his business operations.

10. Lessons Learned and Future Endeavors

Yonghong Shi’s journey, particularly his experience with AC Milan, taught him valuable lessons about the complexities of managing a renowned football club and the challenges of international business ventures. While the chapter with AC Milan may have closed, it is possible that Yonghong Shi will continue to seek new investments and opportunities, leveraging his past experiences to forge a successful future in the business world.

In conclusion, the story of Yonghong Shi and his family goes far beyond his ownership of AC Milan. From his diverse business ventures to his philanthropic efforts and global interests, Shi has left a lasting impact on various industries. While his ownership of AC Milan may not have ended as planned, his entrepreneurial spirit continues to drive him towards new horizons in the business world.

Useful links:
Bloomberg – Shadow of China’s Global Salesman Falls on AC Milan
SCMP – How Chinese Businessman Yonghong Shi Left AC Milan on the Brink
Reuters – AC Milan Ex-Boss Yonghong Shi Declared Bankrupt