(Bloomberg) -- China Evergrande Group’s billionaire founder Hui Ka Yan addressed executives in a voice message on Friday afternoon, according to people familiar with the matter, seemingly an attempt to quell social media rumors about him.
The founder of the world’s most indebted developer told about 100 executives to resume construction projects in a 50-second voice clip on instant messaging app WeChat, the people said, requesting not to be named because the matter is private.
Evergrande representatives didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
Hui led an internal meeting at 7 p.m., the firm said in a statement posted to its website. He called for accelerated efforts to fulfill an annual target to complete and deliver 300,000 housing units by the end of this year. Photos and a short video accompanying the text showed Hui addressing a room full of employees seated around a conference table.
The meeting had been postponed from Friday afternoon, one of the people said. That helped spark speculation around his whereabouts.
Scrutiny of the company is heating up, as it marches toward a self-imposed restructuring deadline by December-end. Topics related to Evergrande and Hui were among the top trending items on Weibo, China’s Twitter-equivalent.
Former Global Times editor-in-chief Hu Xijin said on his social media account that based on his understanding the police in Guandong, where Evergrande is based, hasn’t received any negative news regarding Hui.
Evergrande sits at the center of a credit crisis that has rippled through China’s real estate sector and curtailed growth in the world’s second-largest economy.
The developer said it plans to present a restructuring proposal for dollar debt as soon as the first week of this month, Bloomberg News reported last week. The company also said it expects to receive restructuring support from offshore creditors by as early as February.
(Updates with website statement in the fourth paragraph.)
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