NetEase founder and chief executive William Ding Lei has quitted his role at the company’s media arm, joining other Chinese tech pioneers to step back from corporate leadership roles as Chinese tech companies scale back business operations amid a slowdown in China's economy.
According to Chinese business data platform Tianyancha, Ding, at the age of 50, recently quitted his roles as the legal representative, director of Beijing NetEase Media Corporation.
Established in 2015, Beijing NetEase Media Corporation runs NetEase’s media businesses including news aggregator site NetEase News and other news portal.
As for the reason behind the departure, NetEase said it was a normal business operation without giving further explanations.
Ding Lei, who controls 99 percent of Beijing NetEase Media Corporation’s shares, ranked No 49 in Forbe’s global billionaire list, with a net worth of US$27.7 billion as of Wednesday.
Ding’s departure followed Alibaba Group Holding chairman and chief executive Daniel Zhang who stepped down as legal representative of entities behind Taobao Marketplace and Tmall earlier this week.
The number of Chinese tech CEOs stepping down from their leadership roles reached its peak in recent two years.
In September 2021, Richard Liu, the founder of China’s e-commerce platform JD.com, have stepped down from a frontline management position to switch his focus to the company’s long-term strategy and rural development. Liu’s departure came four months after ByteDance’s founder and CEO Zhang Yiming who announced his resignation to the company via an internal letter in May 2021.
In the letter, Zhang said his leaving would help company to better inspire innovations in the field such as augmented reality, life science, and enrich his personal life in long term initiatives.
Pinduoduo’s billionaire founder Colin Huang stepped down as chairman in March 2021 after donating a 2.37% stake worth USD1.85 billion to his charity foundation.