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Yet another CEO goes AWOL in China

<i>CFOTO/Future Publishing/Getty Images</i><br/>DouYu (DOYU) CEO Chen Shaojie has been unreachable in recent days.
CFOTO/Future Publishing/Getty Images
DouYu (DOYU) CEO Chen Shaojie has been unreachable in recent days.

By Diksha Madhok, CNN

(CNN) — The CEO of a Chinese live-streaming service backed by Tencent has become the latest high-flying executive to fall mysteriously silent in the world’s second largest economy.

According to a Monday report from the Cover News, a state-owned media outlet, DouYu (DOYU) CEO Chen Shaojie has been unreachable in recent days.

It cited unconfirmed reports that Chen was being investigated and had been missing for nearly three weeks. The outlet did not say which authorities may be behind the investigation.

A company spokesperson told CNN that its “business operations remain normal,” adding that it would announce “any significant news or material activities” in a “timely manner.”

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 Cover News report said.

DouYu listed on the Nasdaq in 2019, where it raised about $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.

Chen’s unexplained absence comes as China continues an anti-corruption crackdown that has ensnared top executives, particularly in the finance and tech sectors.

In a brief statement on Saturday, China’s top anti-corruption watchdog said it was investigating Zhang Hongli, a former senior executive at 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.

So far this year, 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.

™ & © 2023 Cable News Network, Inc., a Warner Bros. Discovery Company. All rights reserved.

Juliana Liu contributed to this report.

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