Five former employees of Tencent Holdings Ltd, as well as a current Alibaba Group Holding Ltd executive, were detained by the Chinese authorities on Friday (10 July 2015) for alleged corruption and bribery.
In a statement, Internet giant Tencent said that "five or six people" have been detained including two surnamed Zhang and Yue. "An internal investigation brought to light bribery and corruption among some online video employees. The police have been notified and we are waiting for the results."
Alibaba and Tencent are fast becoming direct competitors as both are expanding into similar areas such as online entertainment.
Tencent said that the alleged wrongdoing occurred when the current Alibaba executive Patrick Liu was leading its online video unit. Liu and other former members of Tencent's video business left the company in 2013 and joined Alibaba later that year.
In 2014, Liu and Tencent went to court over a contract dispute about a confidentiality and non-compete agreement, which Liu unsuccessfully tried to appeal against, according to official Chinese court records.
Alibaba said on its official Weibo microblog that it was "extremely shocked" by the detention of Liu, who is also an executive director at Alibaba Pictures Group Ltd. The e-commerce giantadded that it has arranged for Liu's duties to be handled in his absence to protect Alibaba Pictures' shareholders, and will provide him with legal support.
This news come amid an anti-corruption drive by Beijing, which has resulted in officials at various levels of government, as well as company executives, being taken into custody.
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