(Yicai Global) Dec. 5 -- Ding Lei, founder of Chinese internet behemoth NetEase Inc. [NASDAQ:NTES], carried on his tradition of inviting magnates who attended the annual World Internet Conference in Wuzhen to a gathering dubbed "the biggest dinner party of the Eastern Hemisphere's internet industry."
The main topic of discussion at last year's party was mobile phones before Ding asked, "Can we change the subject please?"
"We didn't talk about mobile phones tonight," said Qihoo 360 Technology Co. Chairman Zhou Hongyi. "Instead, we talked about pork."
Ding Lei's pork dominated our conversations, said Sohu.com Inc. [NASDAQ:SOHU] founder Zhang Chaoyang and Baidu Inc. [NASDAQ:BIDU] founder Robin Li.
Ding announced in 2009 that he would invest in a pig farm, creating a stir in the industry. He unveiled his pig farm with WiFi and pig lavatories last year.
Zhang Chaoyang, Zhou Hongyi, Xiaomi Inc. Chief Executive Lei Jun, group buying service provider Meituan Dianping CEO Wang Xing, Baidu Inc. [NASDAQ:BIDU] President Zhang Yaqin, Sequoia Capital China founder Neil Shen, Lenovo Group Ltd. [HK:0992] CEO Yang Yuanqing, CBC Capital Chairman Tian Suning, Huawei Consumer Business Group at Huawei Technology Co. CEO Richard Yu and Harry Shum, executive vice president of artificial intelligence and research at Microsoft Corp. [NASDAQ:MSFT], attended this year's dinner as well as last year's.
Robin Li and Tencent Holdings Ltd. [HKG:0700] founder Pony Ma, who missed the dinner last year, came this year.
JD.com Inc. [NASDAQ:JD] founder Richard Liu, video platform iQiyi Technology Co. CEO Tim Yu, car-hailing service operator Didi Chuxing founder and CEO Cheng Wei, 58.com Inc. CEO Yao Jingbo and Hillhouse Capital founder Zhang Lei came to the annual feast for the first time this year.
Although the party was lively, Richard Liu and Wang Xing left less than 10 minutes after taking their seats. "The two of us have some business issues to handle," Richard Liu said.
Pony Ma, Yang Yuanqing, Zhang Lei, and Neil Shen left Ding Lei's party at about 8:56 pm to head to a second one that JD.com and Meituan Dianping organized.
Many of the participants were entrepreneurs from companies associated with Tencent.
Pony Ma, Richard Liu, Yang Yuanqing, Wang Xing, Cheng Wei, Lei Jun, Zhihu founder Zhou Yuan, Beijing Mobike Technology Co. founder Wang Xiaofeng, Beijing Kuaishou Technology Co. CEO Su Hua, Zhang Lei, Neil Shen, Beijing Byte Dance Telecommunications Co. founder Zhang Yiming, GSR Ventures Management Co. President Zhu Xiaohu, Meituan Dianping Senior Vice President Wang Huiwen and JD Finance CEO Chen Shengqiang went. Pony Ma sat beside Richard Liu and Wang Xing.
Zhu Xiaohu shared photos of the party on WeChat. "Had a great time chatting with these guys at our annual party," he wrote. "Great talks, great business."
Dinners offer entrepreneurs the rare opportunity to talk in a casual setting, IDG Greater China Chairman Xiong Xiaoge told Yicai Global. "When we give a speech in public, we often talk briefly and broadly, but when we talk with each other in private, our discussion is more effective and is intimate like dating. It's a good occasion for exchanging ideas."