360 Founder’s High-Profile Divorce Sparks Discussions

Zhou Hongyi, the co-founder and CEO of 360 Security Technology, a cybersecurity firm, recently divorced his wife after more than 20 years of marriage. As part of the divorce settlement, Zhou’s ex-wife received a 6.25% stake in the company valued at 8.967 billion yuan ($1.3 billion). This high-profile divorce has brought attention to the company’s plans for large-scale development models and sparked discussions about its future direction.

There are differing opinions regarding the cause of this divorce. Was it due to Zhou’s inability to balance his family and career, or was it a case of “fake divorce” resulting in a reduction of holdings?

360 has announced that Zhou and Hu Huan have ended their marriage through amicable negotiations. The company clarified that this is a private matter and will not affect the controlling shareholder of the company. Zhou remains as the actual controller with a voting rights ratio of 52.45%, and he has no plans to reduce his holdings in the next 12 months. Meanwhile, Hu will maintain her current shareholding in the listed company for at least six months without any intention of increasing or decreasing it. It is worth noting that Hu does not hold any position in 360 or its subsidiaries, so this change will not significantly impact the management of the company, as emphasized by 360.

Since the start of 2023, ChatGPT’s success has led to a significant increase in the stock price of 360. This company had previously announced its development of large models, and as a result, its stock price has risen by over 200% this year. As of the latest closing date, each share is valued at 20.08 yuan with a total market value of 143.5 billion yuan – marking a new high since April 2020.

During the strategic conference held by 360 on March 29, Zhou announced that the official large-scale product is currently undergoing internal testing. He also demonstrated a ChatGPT-like product implanted with a search engine and showcased its chatbot function to the attendees.

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On April 22, 360 will release its annual report for 2022 and Q1 report for 2023. Earlier on January 31, the company announced that based on preliminary calculations by the finance department, it anticipates a net loss of approximately -2.48 billion yuan in 2022.