Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Young Chinese games billionaire dies ‘after poisoning’

The mobile gaming mogul died in hospital on Christmas Day after checking himself in due to 'feeling unwell'.

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A young Chinese tycoon who died on Christmas Day was deliberately poisoned, Shanghai police are saying.

Lin Qi, 39, was the chairman and chief executive of games developer Yoozoo, best known for the “Game of Thrones: Winter Is Coming” strategy game.

Yoozoo released its own statement, saying Lin had admitted himself to hospital after feeling unwell. Things took a dramatic turn on Friday when the company announced its founder had died.

The Shanghai police statement pointed to one of Lin’s colleagues – identified only by his family name Xu – as the main suspect.

According to local media reports, one person is in police custody. This could be Xu Yao, head of Yoozoo’s movie production arm, the BBC is reporting.

There was also some speculation among local media that Lin was poisoned via aged pu’er tea, a fermented Chinese drink.

Employees and ex-employees gathered outside Yoozoo’s office on Friday to mourn his death.

Lin was believed to have a net worth of around 6.8 billion yuan (RM5 billion) according to the Hurun China Rich List.

The young entrepreneur was a star of China’s lucrative gaming market and had also made a foray into film production.

He founded Yoozoo in 2009 and successfully led the company through a period when the gaming industry saw substantial changes towards mobile gaming.

The company issued an emotional statement on its official Weibo microblog.

“Goodbye youth,” it said. “We will be together, continue to be kind, continue to believe in goodness, and continue the fight against all that is bad.”

The post attracted thousands of comments while the topic has been viewed nearly 300 million times on Weibo.

Apart from its Game of Thrones game, Yoozoo is also the co-publisher of Supercell’s smash-hit game “Brawl Stars” along with China’s Tencent Holdings.

The company is also known for its connection with the Chinese sci-fi novel “Three-Body Problem” as it holds the rights for the book’s film adaptation.

Youzoo’s expansion into the motion picture business wasn’t as successful as the company had hoped and the project to adapt the book into six films by Yoozoo Pictures never took off.

In September, it granted US streaming platform Netflix the right to adapt the sci-fi novel for television.

The book is the first instalment of the trilogy “Remembrance of Earth’s Past” by writer Liu Cixin and has received critical acclaim, counting both former US President Barack Obama and Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg among its fans.

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