Patrick Liu Chunning, president of Alibaba’s digital entertainment unit, has been arrested by Chinese authorities over corruption charges related to his previous job at Tencent. Patrick Liu is among six former Tencent employees detained as part of a graft investigation. Alibaba confirmed Liu’s arrest on its official Weibo account.
The Hangzhou-based online retailer said it was “extremely shocked by the news” of Liu’s arrest due to bribery allegations during his tenure at Tencent. Alibaba said it supported Tencent’s anti-corruption efforts. The Jack Ma-led company added that it would cooperate with authorities and offer legal assistance for Liu’s family. An internal investigation by Tencent brought to light that of its online video employees had received bribes.
Liu was the former chief of Tencent’s video operations. He left the Shenzen-based Internet giant in 2013 to join Alibaba. The e-commerce behemoth ensured that Liu’s absence would not affect the business operations of Alibaba Pictures. Tencent owns China’s most popular messaging app WeChat as well as the country’s largest music streaming service. Its online gaming division is often compared to that of Sony.
It has nothing to do with Alibaba
Liu’s arrest has “nothing to do with Alibaba.” Chinese President Xi Jinping has launched a massive corruption crackdown, which has led to the arrest of several top ranking government and corporate officials. However, shares of Alibaba Pictures were unaffected by Liu’s arrest. Hong Kong-listed shares of Alibaba’s entertainment unit rose 7.3% on Friday.
Alibaba is aggressively expanding its media business. Last month, the company announced that it would launch a Netflix-like online video streaming service called Tmall Box Office or TBO in China by August. TBO will offer original productions as well as content produced by others. It has also partnered with Paramount Pictures to promote the upcoming Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation in China. Alibaba Pictures will be responsible for merchandising, online ticketing and promotion of the Hollywood flick in China.