Chinese web users found on Monday that James Liang, the co-founder, former CEO and executive chairman of Trip.com Group Ltd., has been suspended on popular domestic social media site Weibo. At present, the latest post on his Weibo account is from April 29, when he published a discussion article on population policy adjustments.
Aside from his entrepreneurial background, James Liang has acquired a new identity as a demographer since 2011. In 2012, he published his first book on demographics, Too Many People in China? James Liang believes that the biggest factor affecting China’s economy in the future will be population policy, and has published several books on population issues, including The Demographics of Innovation and After Immortality.
After the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, James Liang wrote many articles to express his views. He said that “zero risk” and “zero infection” is an ideal goal that everyone hopes to achieve, but in reality, the goal should be to control the pandemic situation at the lowest possible level on the premise of maintaining the normal social and economic order. He has also predicted that the death toll in the Chinese mainland after deregulation would be 153,000.
Trip.com Group, co-founded by James Liang, has been terribly affected by the pandemic. Financial data show that in 2019, Trip.com’s revenue was 35.666 billion yuan ($5.35 billion) and its net profit was 7.011 billion yuan. In 2020, the company’s revenue declined to 18.316 billion yuan, a year-on-year drop of 48.65%, and the profit attributable to common shareholders fell to -3.247 billion yuan. In 2021, Trip.com’s annual net operating income was 20.023 billion yuan, and the profit attributable to shareholders was -550 million yuan.