Li Guoqing Again Uses Force for Control Over Dangdang, Apprehended by Police

E-commerce platform Dangdang said on Weibo that Li Guoqing, the company’s deposed co-founder forced his way into the company with about 20 people in an attempt to break into the safe for some important files. A once-popular online book seller, Dangdang was co-founded by Li Guoqing and his estranged wife Yu Yu. Dangdang is currently under Yu’s control. This is the second time Li has resorted to force for control over the company. Li previously used force to take the company’s official seals, which are considered legal signatures of the company CEO on paperwork in China, to regain the throne on April 27.

Dangdang told Sina News that the company had called the police about Li’s illegal entry as well as gang robbery. Li posted on Weibo after the police investigation that he has “taken over” the company, calling on business partners to connect with him directly at the new Dangdang headquarters in the future. Dangdang, which is under Yu’s control, has declared the company stamps and files in Li’s hands invalid. On June 13, the police closed the investigation of Li’s theft of company seals and concluded that Li had done nothing illegal.

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Li and Yu announced their separation in 2019 after a long family feud, and the dispute over control of Dangdang has been the center of their divorce saga. On July 7, Li released a public letter claiming to hand over the company to Yu Yu, a decision made by him four years ago, to “maintain stable and harmonious family relations.” Li also said the two sides agreed that Yu would return Dangdang’s executive rights to him after 3 years.

Yu and Li still jointly hold more than 90% of the company’s shares. According to Li, the minority shareholders of Dangdang fully supported him instead of Yu Yu, which makes him the lawful Chairman and CEO of the company, with the support of more than half of the shareholders. However, Dangdang Vice President Kan Min said in an interview with Beijing News that in spite of what Li said, Yu was still in charge of the company, with a 52.23% stake.

Li announced in an open letter that he left the company in Febuary 2019, indicating a peaceful handover with full endorsement for Yu’s leadership. In October, Li said he filed for divorce in July last year, but Yu didn’t agree. As Li frequently appeared in media discussing his relationship and divorce case with Yu, Yu fought back, accusing Li of domestic abuse, extramarital affairs with men, and stealing RMB 130 million out of their joint savings account.

Drama between the two has caught the public’s attention as Li became an internet meme with his seemingly futile efforts to change Yu’s mind about property division. Dangdang itself, which is currently ruled by Yu, even featured a highlighted section on the front page of its site called “From throwing a cup to stealing seals”, in which it recommended a list of books about relationships and corporate laws.