The Rise and Fall of a Chinese Blockchain Star: Kaiying Network
Just four years ago, Wang Yue was being fêted by the likes of Forbes as one of the “world’s youngest billionaires.” At 32, he had the world at his feet, as the head of gaming giant Shanghai Kingnet Technology, also known as Shanghai Kaiying Network Technology or just Kaiying Network – a company he built up from scratch in 2008.
In 2018, the Chinese business world held its breath with anticipation when he announced that the company was taking the plunge into the blockchain technology sector.
Just two years later, the Kaiying Network blockchain dream is in tatters – and the company says it has turned its back on blockchain, likely for good, with Wang placed behind bars.
The company’s blockchain fall from grace has been spectacular.
As recently as a few months ago, the Shenzhen Stock Exchange was still placing Kaiying on its Blockchain 50 Index, alongside business heavyweights like Ping An.
Wang Yue’s blockchain plans sounded grand at the time, and centered around a content-sharing platform which caught the eye of media giants like Xinhua. But, per a Bi Shi Jie report from last year, Wang Yue was already in dire financial straits when he made the announcement.
Stock prices tumbled in 2018, and his own finances had suffered worst of all, with share price falls of as much as 90% reported.
The blockchain platform was Wang Yue’s last throw of the dice, although few people except he know this at the time. When interest in the platform cooled quickly over the course of 2018, possibly coinciding with falling crypto prices, Wang Yue panicked.
Rumors of nefarious behind-the-scenes dealings began to surface by early 2019, and he dropped off the radar completely, with even the company he founded and still owned over 20% of unable to reach him. He was removed as CEO and by May last year “no longer held any position in the company,” per an official statement.
Days later, as recounted by KR-Asia, he was tracked down by the police in Shanghai and arrested on suspicion of manipulating the securities market, with a court freezing his shares.
The company was rocked once more in December last year when it lost a copyright infringement lawsuit to South Korean gaming giant WeMade (currently looking to reposition itself as a major blockchain player). As reported by Chosun, Kaiying was ordered to pay USD 3.4 million in damages and over USD 34,000 in compensation.
The Chinese company’s blockchain plans had been in de facto limbo ever since, but JRJ reports that at a recent Kaiying Network investor relations call, it appears to have finally drawn the line under its once-grand blockchain plans.
An investor asked,
“Has Kaiying completely withdrawn from the blockchain business?"
The company replied that it was now focusing on its core business of gaming, “having already explored blockchain and other fields,” adding that “no more” blockchain investment was currently on the horizon.