Youngest Vice President In Baidu's History Has Resigned Amid Charges Of Corruption
摘要： Li Mingyuan, or Eric Li, former vice president and E-Staff of Chinese search engine Baidu, has resigned after being caught practicing favoritism and engaged in malpractice. As of press time, Baidu has already confirmed the news to TMTpost.
Li Mingyuan, also referred to as “Prince of Baidu” (while Baidu’s founder Robin Li was referred to as “Emperor of Baidu”), often appeared in public on behalf of Baidu for the past two years. However, after almost disappearing entirely in public this year, he aroused huge public discussion again, yet this time, he took the blame and resigned due to corruption.
As of the evening of November, 6th, it is reported that Li, the youngest vice president in Baidu's history, has resigned after being caught practicing favoritism and engaged in malpractice. As of press time, Baidu has already confirmed the news to TMTpost.
According to the widely-circulated Baidu’s internal email, Li had large-sum suspicious financial transaction with head of a company Baidu once acquired. The email also suggested that Li had already admitted the mistake, offered an apology and resigned voluntarily.
We learn that Li has been referred to as “Prince of Baidu” for a while, and was appreciated a great deal by Baidu’s founder and CEO Robin Li. However, his personal resume suggests that there were still ups and downs in his career. In 2004, Li Mingyuan attended Communication University of China, majoring in Radio and Television Playwright-director. After graduating from Communication University of China in 2004, Li joined the newly established Baidu Tieba as an intern and became the very first product manager of Baidu Tieba. In 2007, Li Mingyuan became the general manager of the first independent business unit in Baidu history - E-Commerce Business Division, and was responsible for its Baidu Youa and Baifubao as well as other business.
However, owing to a series of frustrations in Baidu's Youa and Baifubao business, Li Mingyuan left Baidu and began his study in CEIBS in August, 2010. During that time he joined UC Web Beijing as vice president of product, and was responsible for design of new mobile Internet SNS platform -UC Heaven and management of a number of company business. By the end of 2011, Li Mingyuan returned to Baidu as senior director of Baidu Mobile & Cloud BU; In February, 2012, Li Mingyuan was promoted as general manager of Baidu Mobile & Cloud BU; In July, 2013, Li Mingyuan was promoted as vice president of Baidu, and became the youngest vice president in Baidu’s history. In July, 2014, Li Mingyuan was promoted as E-Staff member in Baidu, and officially became a member of Baidu core management team. Before he resigned, he was responsible for Baidu’s Mobile Service Business Group.
Some analysts guessed that Li’s corruption might have something to do with Baidu’s acquisition of 91.com. After Baidu acquired 91.com at a very high price, many smartphone brands began to pre-install App Store in smartphones, making Baidu waste a huge amount of money in vain. Coincidently, Li was a key person in the acquisition.
According to public information, Baidu acquired 91.com at $1.9 billion on October, 1st, 2013 and acquired the game portal. Later, Baidu Duoku merged its game distribution business and integrated into Baidu Mobile Game. Besides, Robin Li’s assistant Zhang Dongchen was appointed as CEO of Baidu’s Mobile Game Business Division and reported directly to Baidu’s vice president Wang Zhan.
In March, 2015, Wang Fei was appointed as CEO of Baidu Mobile Game. Nine months later, Baidu adjusted its corporate structure and moved both Mobile Game and Baidu Tieba to Baidu MSG Mobile Business Group. This March, Baidu again upgraded its Mobile Game into Baidu Game.
According to an email from Baidu Professional Ethics Committee, Li business was reported to have large-sum suspicious financial transaction with related personnel from one of Baidu’s partner in game sector. Besides, Li failed to report to Baidu, as was stipulated by relevant rules, about his personal investment into external companies and his business relations with them.
In addition, Baidu seems to attach special importance to anti-corruption this year. This September, Baidu Professional Ethics Committee sent an internal email to all staff, listing in detail 17 cases of malpractice and firing in total 30 employees.
Among them, 10 cases are related to faking subsidy, expenditure and sales performance inside Baidu’s O2O groupon and takeaway booking platform Nuomi, and the rest 7 cases are related to various divisions (from Customer Development, Channel, Business Cooperation, Search Engine Marketing, Tieba to Duoku Game and Mobile Distribution Product) inside Baidu’s Beijing office.
This May, when the Wei Zexi incident broke out, Wang Zhan, vice president of Baidu, was also fired due to his violation of professional ethics and damaging Baidu’s corporate interests.
[The article is published and edited with authorization from the author @TMTpost please note source and hyperlink when reproduce.]
Translated by Levin Feng (Senior Translator at PAGE TO PAGE), working for TMTpost.