Chinese company Meituan Dianping, a pioneer in digitizing the sale of offline services, such as buying food at restaurants, booking hotels and taking out insurance online, lost $ 16 billion on the Hong Kong stock exchange, after its CEO, Wang Xing, published poetry on the social network Fanfou.
The post, which took place in early May, contained excerpts from a Chinese poem written over a thousand years ago, in the Tang dynasty. The problem, however, was the criticism of censorship by China’s first emperor, Qin Shihuang.
That was quickly interpreted as an opposition to the current Chinese government, although there was no confirmation from the businessman. Despite this, more than 4.2 million people commented on the post in this regard, informs the Enlightment consultancy.
Company shares devalue
In April, Chinese prosecutors opened an investigation against Meituan Dianping and other companies for possible monopoly practices. If the suspicion is confirmed, Big Tech will have to disburse US $ 800 million .
Investor confidence, which was already affected by the investigation, declined further with the publication of the CEO. In a single trading session, the company’s assets plunged more than US $ 16 billion in value.
In the face of such repercussions, Wang decided to delete the publication, clarifying that poetry was, in fact, a reference to the challenges of undertaking in competitive environments. Looking at the company’s financial loss, as well as the CEO’s “redemption” attempt, it becomes evident that, to be successful in China, you need to be aligned with the government.