(Yicai Global) Dec. 27 -- Li Ziqi, China's most popular YouTuber, has become the actual controller of a company that owns the intellectual property linked to her name and brand after settling a dispute in court.
Li has become the actual controller of Ziqi Culture Communication under the mediation of the Mianyang Intermediate People's Court, one of the company's founders, Weinian said in a statement on its WeChat account today. The influencer has not personally commented on the case.
Last year, Li Ziqi set a new Guinness record as the most popular Chinese content creator on YouTube with her 14.1 million subscribers. She is known for her videos about idyllic farm life in rural Sichuan province.
Corporate data platform Tianyancha shows that the shareholder structure of Ziqi Culture Communication, established by Li and Weinian in July 2017, has changed. Li has increased her shareholding to 99 percent from 49 percent. Weinian now has a holding of 1 percent, down from 51 percent. Weinian's CEO Liu Tongming is no longer the chairman of the joint venture.
When Sichuan province-based Ziqi Culture was formed, Li was its legal representative and executive director. Ziqi Culture is responsible for IP creation, and Hangzhou-based Weinian takes care of commercial IP management.
The tensions have been intensifying for a while as in September 2021, Li's assistant revealed the equity dispute on Weibo. Ziqi Culture sued Weinian and its legal person Liu Tongming twice in October and November 2021. Weinian did the same in January and March but the exact content of the lawsuits has not been disclosed.
Established in February 2013, Weinian's business scope covers brand management, online sales, as well as cultural and entertainment brokering. Weinian has expanded the variety of Li Ziqi-branded products and sales of such products exceeded CNY150 million (USD21.6 million) during the Double 11 shopping festival in 2020.
However, it was not clear who was behind the ropes. Li Ziqi’s flagship store on e-commerce platform Tmall, YouTube account, and other important monetization channels are registered under Weinian whose shares Li did not earlier own.
Editor: Emmi Laine, Xiao Yi