Yang Weidong, head of Alibaba-backed video platform Youku and CEO of Alibaba Music is under investigation for “economic issues,” Alibaba has confirmed to media including Tencent Tech (in Chinese).
The company said the investigation was due to evidence reported to police by sources, without giving other details.
The official confirmation has quickly attracted attention from China’s general content, culture, and entertainment industry.
It is still unclear to what extent Yang’s case will influence Alibaba’s recent operations in related fields. During an event Youku organized in Shanghai in 2017, Yang publicly said that there’s no ceiling to Alibaba culture and entertainment units’ investment in content.
According to Chinese media Huxiu (in Chinese), the investigation lasted for more than a month. Huxiu’s sources said the accusation was mainly for abnormal revenues amounting to more than RMB 100 million ($14.6 million) and gained from entertainment shows.
In a recent restructuring plan Alibaba announced on November 26, Yang was replaced by Fan as the new rotating chairman of Alibaba’s Culture and Entertainment unit. The restructuring plan will see the company focus on cloud computing and new retail businesses.
Born in 1976, former Nokia veteran Yang joined Youku in 2013 as a senior vice president after being invited by former Youku head, Gu Yongqiang. Yang took over Youku’s top spot from Gu in 2016, not long after Alibaba completed the acquisition for over RMB 4 billion.