Huang Guangyu, the founder of electronics retail giant GOME Retail, made his first public appearance on Thursday after 12 years in prison, announcing a home furnishings push for the company.

Details: The physical electronics giant introduced a new app offering home furnishing products and solutions at the event.

  • Huang, formerly the richest person in China, pledged to return his company to its former glory within 18 months when his parole ended February.
  • The company predicts RMB 500 billion ($77 billion) home furnishing revenue within the future three years.

Context: Huang was among the first group of risk-taking businessman to benefit from China’s opening up in the 80s and 90s. He rose to prominence as the man behind home appliance chain GOME Retail since 1990s, an era before China’s business world was dominated by tech giants.

  • Huang was sentenced to 14-years’ imprisonment in 2010 for illegal business operations, insider trading, and corporate bribery. He was released from prison last year for good behavior.
  • Huang was known as China’s richest man at the time he was imprisoned in 2010, with a net worth of at least RMB 45 billion.
  • Huang’s wife Du Juan has been managing GOME’s operation during his imprisonment, when China’s retail market underwent a fundamental change in going online.
  • GOME has struggled to adapt to online retail. It has tied up with online retailers including Pinduoduo and JD in an effort to build digital presence.

Emma Lee

Emma Lee is Shanghai-based tech writer, covering startups and tech happenings in China and Asia in general. We are looking for stories related to tech and China. Reach her at lixin@technode.com.