WEIBO – Web Debut For Lenovo’s Yang; Xiaomi Touts Sina Steal

Lenovo’s Yang launches microblog

Lenovo’s (HKEx: 992) talkative CEO Yang Yuanqing was headline news in the microblogging realm over the past week, as the chatty executive formally launched his own account on Sina Weibo and proceeded to bombard the airwaves with a steady series of thoughts on a wide range of topics. Yang is already quite talkative in general, granting numerous media interviews and giving his thoughts on just about anything to anyone who will listen. So this kind of move isn’t really that surprising, and I expect we’ll hear lots from him in the months and years ahead.

Meantime, executives from the equally talkative Xiaomi were also full of microblogging chatter, touting their latest steal of a high-profile executive from another tech firm. In this case they were congratulating themselves for hiring Chen Tong, one of the earliest top employees at web stalwart Sina (Nasdaq: SINA). A final footnote in this week’s microblogging roundup also saw a teasing tweet from the missing CEO of online video site LeTV (Shenzhen: 300104), amid recent speculation that he may have left China to avoid criminal prosecution.

Most of China’s top Internet executives have microblogging accounts, though they vary widely in their online activity. Tencent’s (HKEx: 700) founder Pony Ma is generally quiet on his account, and seldom says anything very interesting. Likewise, Alibaba’s (NYSE: BABA) talkative founder Jack Ma is somewhat reserved on his account, limiting his discussion to talk about the environment. More talkative chief executives include TCL chairman (Shenzhen: 000100) Li Dongsheng, and JD.com (Nasdaq: JD) chief Richard Liu was also quite talkative on his microblog until recently.

Now we can add Lenovo’s Yang Yuanqing to the microblogging mix, following the launch of his Sina Weibo account last Thursday. In the brief period since then, he has already made 21 posts, and boasts a fan base of more than 200,000. His first post features a morning greeting and photo from the interior city of Wuhan, where Lenovo has a major production base. (microblog post) Company watchers will also note that Lenovo and Wuhan were in the headlines last week when the company said it would move production for cellphones from its newly acquired Motorola brand to the city. (previous post)

Since his inaugural post, Yang has made numerous additional comments on a wide range of other subjects, including the current APEC summit taking place in Beijing. (microblog post) The list of other subjects includes such wide-ranging topics as robots (microblog post) and fitness training equipment. (microblog post)  None are too interesting, which is typical of someone like Yang who likes to comment on just about anything. But I do expect we’ll see a few interesting hints on his microblog from time to time about the latest developments at Lenovo.

Also on the subject of talkative, the hyper-chatty Xiaomi was also quite full of buzz over the past week after formally announcing its hiring of senior editor Chen Tong away from Sina. Chen comes from a media background, and will head a recently announced Xiaomi campaign to build up its content production capabilities. Chen’s move to Xiaomi follows a steady stream of similar high-profile corporate defections, starting last year with Hugo Barra, who left Internet giant Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) to take a job leading Xiaomi’s global expansion.

At least 4 of Xiaomi’s top executives tweeted on Chen’s arrival to their company, led by talkative Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun who formally announced the move and forwarded another report about his company’s plan to spend $1 billion on content development. (microblog post) Chen himself commented on Xiaomi’s social media group of nearly 50 people, implying his future content creation effort will focus on the hot social networking (SNS) area. (microblog post) I imagine we’ll hear lots more from Chen in the year ahead, as he gets indoctrinated into Xiaomi’s culture that encourages strong promotion of the company by its top executives.

Finally there’s the equally talkative Jia Yueting, the brash CEO of online video site LeTV, who recently became the subject of speculation that he had run afoul of the law when he failed to return to China after a visit of several months to the US. (previous post) The latest rumors said Jia had been returned to China, with the implication that he might be arrested for some kind of economic crime.

But in his somewhat cryptic microblog post, Jia implies that he’s doing just fine, telling people not to believe rumors and saying the truth will gradually come out. (microblog post) I do expect this current story of intrigue has at least one more chapter before reaching a conclusion, though it’s far from clear whether Jia will really return to China and continue at the realm of LeTV.

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