Business / Technology

LeTV hires top financial talent

By Gao Yuan (China Daily) Updated: 2015-08-19 07:39

LeTV hires top financial talent

Winston Cheng, former Asian chief of investments at Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

Company's move highlights growing demand for jobs at Internet startups

Tech company LeTV Holdings Co Ltd recruited two former senior banking executives this week, highlighting a growing trend of top financial industry talent joining Chinese tech startups.

Wang Yongli, a former vice-president of Bank of China Ltd, has joined LeTV and will head its online financing service business, sources said on Tuesday. Wang was a top contender for the BOC chief's post until his abrupt resignation in 2014. LeTV refused to comment on the matter because the appointment is yet to be made public.

Once announced, Wang will be the highest-level former State-owned bank executive to head an online financing service.

Also taking off his suit and tie for a Steve Jobs-style shirt and jeans is Winston Cheng, Bank of America Merrill Lynch's former Asian managing director overseeing investments in technology, media and telecom. He will be in charge of corporate financing, investment and acquisition matters for LeTV, as the Beijing-based firm expands from online video to smartphones, Internet TV and bicycle manufacturing.

Jia Yueting, founder and CEO of LeTV, said Cheng will help LeTV attract more overseas investors. Earlier this year, Jia said LeTV needs more investment and a better team of financial professionals to manage its rapidly growing businesses.

After launching its first-generation smartphone, LeTV introduced the 39,999 yuan ($6,250) "smart bikes" that can automatically track distances and location last week. The company is also preparing to build electric cars to compete against Tesla Motors Inc's Model S.

Huang Leping, a Shanghai-based technology analyst at Nomura Securities Co, said the number of professionals leaving financial institutions for tech firms has been rising steadily.

"Many have left banks for Internet companies," he said.

About 26 senior executives of Chinese banks have left their jobs this year for positions in Internet finance and other sectors, according to the Guangzhou-based newspaper Time Weekly.

The executives usually cite "personal reasons" for their resignations. Higher pay is obviously a better explanation as most of the Chinese tech startups receive increasingly generous investments and hence tend to offer huge salaries to lure talent.

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