Chinese tech mogul not seen in weeks after official probe: reports


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The boss of a leading Chinese livestreaming platform has not been seen in public for weeks, state-run media outlets reported, after an investigation into illegal content on his site.

DouYu founder and CEO Chen Shaojie has not been seen since October and industry insiders believe it is related to suspected gambling during a livestream on the platform, The Paper, a government-run outlet based in Shanghai, reported Monday.

DouYu is backed by Chinese tech giant Tencent and is US-listed with a market capitalization of $268 million. A representative did not provide details when asked by AFP on Tuesday about Chen’s whereabouts.

“DouYu’s business operations remain normal,” they said.

The Chengdu-based Cover News also reported that Chen’s colleagues were not aware of his whereabouts and were unable to get in contact with him.

There has been no official confirmation of Chen’s detention but lengthy disappearances by senior executives in China are often followed by announcements they are under investigation.

Bao Fan, the billionaire chairman and executive director of investment bank China Renaissance, went missing this year and was later revealed to be “cooperating” in an official investigation.

Livestreaming is a multi-million dollar phenomenon in China, generating huge profits for e-commerce giants and popular influencers alike.

But Beijing has sought to crack down on perceived immoral content on the booming industry, launching probes into several top social media platforms and targeting prominent influencers.

Authorities conducted a sweeping investigation into DouYu in May over concerns about pornography and other “vulgar” content.

Several of China’s leading financiers and businesspeople have fallen from grace in recent years, with an intense crackdown on alleged corruption pushed by President Xi Jinping showing no sign of abating.

The former boss of China’s state-owned banking giant Everbright Group, Li Xiaopeng, was arrested last month on charges of taking bribes.

And in September, the former chairman and Chinese Communist Party chief of China Life Insurance, Wang Bin, was sentenced to life in prison for corruption.

© 2023 AFP

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Chinese tech mogul not seen in weeks after official probe: reports (2023, November 7)
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