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Chinese billionaire Wong Kwong Yu released on parole

[BEIJING] The founder of Chinese electronics retail giant Gome Retail Holdings has been released on parole after spending the past 10 years in prison, a Chinese court said on Wednesday.

Wong Kwong Yu, also Gome's former chairman, was arrested in 2008 and jailed in 2010, after being sentenced to 14 years for illegal business dealings, insider trading and corporate bribery. Mr Wong, who is also known as Huang Guangyu, was scheduled to be released in February next year after his sentence was shortened.

The Beijing No1 Intermediate People's Court decided to release him on parole until Feb 16 next year, according to a statement posted on the official Weibo account of the Beijing high court. It gave no further details.

Gome did not respond to a request for comment from Reuters.

Shares in Hong Kong-listed Gome Retail had jumped 17.4 per cent after local media reported that he had been released earlier in the day, while subsidiary GOME Finance Technology surged 47.3 per cent.

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Mr Wong, who built Gome Electronics into China's biggest appliance retailer, was ranked by the Forbes Rich List as China's richest man with a wealth of 18.1 billion yuan (S$3.55 billion) in 2006. By 2019, he had dropped to 280th place on the list, which estimated that his wealth had fallen to 9.4 billion yuan.

Local media have reported that Mr Wong had continued to exchange ideas with Gome's company executives via letters during his imprisonment.

Like many brick-and-mortar retailers, Gome has been trying to navigate the growing popularity of online shopping. Earlier this year, Gome Retail announced that it had formed strategic partnerships with and received investment from e-commerce platforms Pinduoduo and JD.com. 

REUTERS

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