A Chinese Steel Giant Is Upsetting The Global Nickel Market

Behind one of China’s biggest industrial companies is a husband and wife team that reinvented how to make stainless steel.

With cheaper production techniques, Xiang Guangda and his wife He Xiuqin helped change the industry in less than two decades — turning Tsingshan Holding Group Co. into a company that churns out a fifth of the world’s stainless steel and creating a billion-dollar fortune. Now it’s making waves in a different market: the London Metal Exchange.

While Tsingshan and the couple keep a low public profile, they were the talk of LME Week in London, with traders speculating on the company’s role in drawing down large quantities of metal from warehouses tracked by the LME. Tsingshan, which is privately held, says it needs the material to feed factories in China when Indonesia shuts off exports of nickel ore in January.