China tells billionaire to lie low after posting controversial poem

China tells billionaire to lie low after posting controversial poem

2021-06-18 10:29:00 AM

China tells billionaire to lie low after posting controversial poem

Food delivery mogul Wang Xing posted a millennium-old poem regarded by many as criticism of the government

Agency StaffPicture: LAM YIKChina’s government summoned Meituan’s Wang Xing to a meeting recently and warned him to keep a low profile, after the founder of China’s third-largest tech corporation last month posted a controversial poem that convulsed markets and sparked a social media furore.

Naomi Campbell pens open letter to former president Jacob Zuma: 'This isn't the South Africa I remember' | Channel SCORPIO: Zweli Mkhize’s son collected bags of Digital Vibes cash, says SIU Kabza De Small wins big at the Samas | Citypress

Beijing officials called Wang in after the food delivery mogul posted a millennium-old poem regarded by many as implicit criticism of the government, according to people with knowledge of the matter. They warned him to refrain from courting the spotlight, at least temporarily, the people said, asking not to be identified as they were not authorised to discuss the matter.

The Tang Dynasty poem — describing the burning of books under China’s first emperor — was widely seen as anti-establishment and triggered a $26bn sell-off in Meituan’s shares over two days. While the CEO later issued a clarification saying his post had been targeted at the short-sightedness of his own industry, some investors drew parallels to the criticisms issued by Alibaba Group founder Jack Ma against regulators last year, which triggered an unprecedented crackdown on China’s internet sector. The officials, however, indicated to Wang that no further fallout will result from the incident, the people said.

Meituan did not respond to a written request for comment. Like Alibaba previously, Meituan is grappling with a probe by the state antitrust watchdog into alleged monopolistic behaviour such as merchant exclusivity, which some analysts have estimated could result in fines of more than $700m.

Officials refrained from taking more severe action against Wang because they did not want to convey the impression that every minor transgression could result in dire consequences, one of the people said. The incident transpired less than two months before the Chinese Communist Party is poised to celebrate the 100th anniversary of its founding on July 1, a politically sensitive period in the country.

The entrepreneur has since stayed under the radar. Since Wang posted the statement clarifying his intentions on May 9, he has abruptly stopped posting to his account on Fanfou, the social media platform he created before Meituan. Before the controversy, he updated his account at least several times a week.

The billionaire has not been seen nor heard in public beyond a brief appearance on Meituan’s quarterly earnings call in May. His donation of a $2.3bn stake in the food delivery giant to charity — one of the largest single acts of philanthropy during the pandemic — was revealed through a company disclosure statement to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, in lieu of a personal announcement.

Why old (primary) school values will see Tatjana handle newfound fame with aplomb | Sport Calls to track down man who made threatening video at a Pietermaritzburg mall the night before the looting | Witness Toyota SA Executive Chair Dr Johan van Zyl passes away

Beijing is now focusing its efforts on a broader investigation, announced in April, into whether Meituan violated anti-monopoly laws through practices such as forced exclusivity arrangements. Meituan executives said last month it has set up a dedicated team to work with officials conducting the probe, and vowed strict compliance with new guidelines.

Wang’s fate contrasts with that of Alibaba’s Ma, whose business empire came under sustained assault from regulators. His fintech giant, Ant Group, was forced to scrap what would have been a record initial public offering, while Alibaba was slapped with a $2.8bn fine for antitrust violations, the largest such penalty ever.

Ma is also under pressure to divest some of his media holdings, people familiar with the matter have said, and the flamboyant businessman has not been seen in public beyond a handful of low-key appearances. Read more: Business Day »

Golden Arrow bus driver struck by bullet in his mouth in suspected taxi violence

A Golden Arrow bus driver has been struck by a bullet through the mouth at the Borcherds Quarry drive on Monday morning.

What’s your point ? You change my life out of debt I Don't think I could tell you how much you mean to me. I will keep telling people about your good work in my life .. JAmSRcharD

High Nigeria food costs push 7 million into poverty: World BankHigh inflation driven by soaring food prices has pushed seven million Nigerians into poverty, the World Bank said. Except politicians.

China to launch first crew to new space station on ThursdayThe mission will be China's longest crewed space mission to date and the first in nearly five years, as Beijing pushes forward with its ambitious programme to establish itself as a space power. Looks like a Russia's Soyuz rocket

Gigaba tells Zondo of SMS alleging Norma hired people to kill himGigaba again accused Norma Mngoma of being a 'liar': 'Ms Mngoma lies, pathologically, she makes a habit of lying, she says some things today, she denies them tomorrow.' 😳😳 everyone keeps on talking about your diligence and honesty I must say that you are the best, thank you for transforming my life for the better financially JAmSRcharD

MTN insurance unit passes 12-million customer markGroup is seeking to capitalise on African countries with low insurance penetration Geoffreypreud believing in you is one thing every investors should do in other to gain massive payouts from your platform thank you so much sir 💯🤭 MTNza my phone is about to get lost,can I proceed with the claim paperwork?

Never-before-seen IRS files reveal how the wealthiest avoid tax - The Mail & GuardianProPublica has obtained a vast cache of IRS information showing how billionaires like Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk and Warren Buffett pay little in income tax compared to their massive wealth — sometimes, even nothing

CORONAVIRUS GLOBAL UPDATE: New York positivity rate at record low; South Africa registers 13,246 new casesSouth Africa registered 13,246 new Covid-19 cases, bringing the cumulative total to 1,774,312. A further 136 Covid-19-related deaths were reported, taking total deaths to 58,223. A total of 1,965,812 individuals have been vaccinated.