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CEO of Chinese live-streaming service DouYu goes missing

By ANI BUREAUS Published Nov 08, 2023 8:22 am

The CEO of a Chinese live-streaming service backed by Tencent has become the latest executive to go missing in the country, CNN reported.

Tencent Holdings Ltd. is a Chinese multinational technology and entertainment conglomerate.

As per a report from Cover News, a state-owned media outlet, DouYu (DOYU) CEO Chen Shaojie has been unreachable in recent days. It also cited unconfirmed reports that Chen was being investigated and had been missing for nearly three weeks.

It was not reported which authorities were behind the investigation and DouYu did not respond to CNN's request for comment.

The 39-year-old CEO made his last public appearance in August when he spoke on the company's quarterly earnings conference call with financial analysts, the report said.

The Chinese live-streaming service was listed on the Nasdaq in 2019, where it raised about US$775 million in one of the largest share offerings by a Chinese company on Wall Street that year.

DouYu, which translates to "fighting fish" in Chinese, is often compared to Amazon's Twitch service. It hosts interactive live streams of video games on its desktop and mobile apps while letting users chat in real-time and inviting them to watch other content created for its platform, as per CNN.

The CEO's unexplained absence comes as China continues an anti-corruption crackdown that has trapped top executives, particularly in the finance and tech sectors.

China's top anti-corruption watchdog, in a brief statement on Saturday, said it was investigating Zhang Hongli, a former senior executive at the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), one of China's "Big Four" lenders.

Zhang was "suspected of seriously violating rules and laws," a phrase that is commonly used to refer to corruption, the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection said, without giving any further details.

Bao Fan, a star investment banker and tech dealmaker, was also caught up in the sweep. In May, Chinese state media reported that Bao had been in the custody of the anti-graft agency since his disappearance in February, as per CNN.

In 2023, the commission has already investigated more than a dozen senior executives at the country's most important financial institutions, according to a previous CNN analysis of statements posted on the CCDI's website.

Other industries haven't escaped. Xu Jiayin, once one of China's richest men and the chairman of embattled Chinese developer Evergrande Group, was taken away by the police, according to a company filing to the Hong Kong stock exchange in September.

The company said it had been notified by the "relevant authorities" that he had been subject to "mandatory measures in accordance with the law due to suspicion of... crimes." Under the Chinese legal system, "mandatory" or "compulsory" measures can include detention and formal arrest, as per CNN.

Recently, Chinese dealmaker and founder of the China Renaissance Holdings Bao Fan had gone missing sending shares plummeting on Friday, according to Al Jazeera.

Chinese Renaissance Holdings Ltd, in a filing to Hong Kong Stock Exchange Market, said that the company was unable to reach Bao.

"The board is not aware of any information that indicates that Mr. Bao's unavailability is or might be related to the business and/or operations of the group which is continuing normally," China Renaissance said in the statement.

Bao was also not seen in his office, Al Jazeera reported citing Caixin, a China-based financial news outlet.

China Renaissance was listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange in 2018 and has invested in high-profile Chinese startups such as electric carmaker NIO in addition to providing advisory services.

It is not uncommon for business executives to disappear in China, where authorities can detain suspects for months or even years without charge or access to legal representation.

It was later reported that Bao Fan has been in the custody of the country's top anti-graft watchdog since his disappearance and has had his detention extended, according to a state media report. (ANI)