NetEase CEO William Ding has stepped down from his position as media subsidiary Beijing NetEase Media Co’s legal representative, general manager and director of subsidiary.
As reported by the South China Morning Post, this action by Ding, 50, fits with a recent trend amongst tech leaders – cutting back on corporate duties after changes in Beijing have impeded sales.
Ding has now been replaced by Li Li, chief executive of Cayman Islands-incorporated NetEase Media. The firm described this as a "normal" business operation change.
The winds of change
Previously, given the lax regulations and easy funding, China’s tech industry had seen extreme growth. When NetEase reported its Q4 and full-year financial results for 2021, mobile games were revealed to have accounted for 70.4 per cent of the overall yearly revenue at roughly $9.6 billion. Meanwhile, Tencent games revenue increased by 9.9 per cent in 2021 to almost $33 billion.
More recently, however, China has been making a number of changes to its approach to gaming and more companies are now aligning with government priorities. The stepping down of tech billionaires from corporate duties can be seen in cases such as ByteDance’s Zhang Yiming, ID.com’s Richard Liu Qiangdong, and former Kuaishou Technology chief Su Hua.
This month, Tencent announced plans to shut down one of its services that allows China-based gamers access to overseas games days before China issued new regulations prohibiting the livestreaming of unauthorised video games.