Li Yinan, the founder of Niu Technologies Group Ltd. and former vice president of China’s giant ICT company Huawei, has been reportedly arrested for insider trading, according to caixin.com.
The accusation traced back to the year 2014, when Li’s brother-in-law and mother made a profit of 7.44 million yuan (1.14 million USD) from stocks of Wuhan Huazhong Numerical Control Co. Ltd. The company was in talks about merger at the time, and its president Li Xiaotao was a college friend and former colleague of Li Yinan. The case is still undergoing investigation.
Media mourns the fall of the young genius. Li rocketed from a graduate to vice president of Huawei in four years at age of 27, and this was only one of the stunting feats he has achieved in his field of profession.
Started Young, Climbed up Fast
Born in central China’s Hunan Province in 1970, Li went to Huazhong University of Science and Technology at age of 15. He entered Huawei as project manager, and developed a father-son like relationship with Ren Zhengfei, the founder and president of Huawei. He became vice president and a crucial decision-maker of the company despite of his unusually young age.
Just when everyone thought he would be the first in line of the possible successors of Ren Zhengfei, Li took off and left Huawei – with a group of top researchers and salespersons, together with over 10 million yuan dividend from the company. He started his own enterprise named China Harbour Engineering Company Ltd. (CHEC), in an apparent open competition with his former employer. In six years, from agents of Huawei to making similar products by its own, the new company took up 7 to 8 percent of the market share in the broadband IP field, whereas the gigantic Huawei made it to mere 10 to 15 percent.
Rising and Fallen Star
The battle between Li Yinan and his former “God Father” Ren Zhengfei ended up in Huawei buying CHEC at 50 million USD in cash. Li continually did job-hopping among all the big name companies in the IT field of China – CTO in Baidu in 2008; CEO of 12580, a subsidiary of China Mobile, in 2010; and a partner of GSR Ventures in 2011.
However, an impressive résumé is far from satisfying the ambitious young man. In 2015, Li left GSR Ventures and started up his own scooter company Niu Technologies Group Ltd.
Li publicly announced that this would be the last time he starts up a new company. Just three weeks after the (impressive) new product release, Li was detained by local police.
With a promising future ahead, it is hard to imagine Li would sell his insatiable ambition to a mistake as blatant as insider trading. While the results of the investigation are pending, one question worth asking would be: When this all ends, will Li Yinan be able to pull himself together and rise again?