- Didi’s Jean Liu and Lenovo’s Liu Chuanzhi both set older posts on their Weibo accounts to private.
- Other Chinese tech bigwigs are retreating from the spotlight amid Beijing’s tech crackdown.
- Didi has come under fire from Chinese and American regulators for its botched listing in New York.
Two more top executives at some of China’s largest tech companies have gone into hibernation on the country’s Twitter-like platform Weibo. They’re the latest in a list of Chinese tech moguls who have stepped back from social media.
During the recent five-day Labor Day holiday in China, Weibo users noticed that Jean Liu, president of ride-hailing giant Didi Chuxing, set posts on her Weibo account that are more than six months old as private. Her father, Liu Chuanzhi, who founded computer maker Lenovo, did the same to his account.
But because neither of them has posted anything in the past six months, their accounts appear as empty pages.
To be sure, the Lius’ Weibo accounts are still active. Jean Liu has almost 10.4 million followers on her Weibo account, while her father has about 878,000.
The younger Liu, a former Goldman Sachs executive who was often seen as Didi’s public ambassador, used Weibo to address users’ complaints and comments about the company, per a report from Financial Times.
While the Lius gave no reason for going private, users were quick to assume they decided to do so to avoid Beijing’s increased scrutiny on the tech sector.
“At this moment it’s best to take down your flags and quiet your drums. When you’re quiet, all will be well,” a Weibo said in a self-penned poem titled “Liu Chuanzhi and Jean Liu clearing their Weibo accounts: Why?”
Didi and Lenovo did not immediately respond to Insider’s requests for comment.
China’s tech founders and CEOs, encouraged by the successes of their companies, have in the past been outspoken on social media platforms. Many relied on popular platforms such as Weibo to interact with their followers; some 573 million users use Weibo every month on average.
But amid a sweeping crackdown by China’s government on its technology sector, many of China’s tech bigwigs have retreated from the public spotlight.
Both Zhang Yiming, who founded TikTok’s owner ByteDance, and food-delivery app Meituan’s Wang Xing have set their accounts to private on Weibo. E-commerce giant Alibaba’s founder Jack Ma last used the platform in October 2020.
Didi is facing regulatory scrutiny from China and the US.
Ride hailing app Didi, which has often been compared to Uber, has come under fire for recent controversies regarding its listing in New York. Last year, Chinese regulators wanted Didi to delay its listing until after they’ve reviewed its data practices. Didi went ahead and listed in June, drawing the ire of Beijing.
In December, Didi bowed to months of pressure from the Chinese government and said it would delist from the New York Stock Exchange and list in Hong Kong instead. It’s planning to let shareholders vote on this decision later this month.
This week, Didi revealed that it’s facing additional pressure from the US Securities and Exchange Commission regarding its botched listing. “After our initial public offering in the United States, the SEC contacted us and made inquiries in relation to the offering,” it said in its annual report.
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