(Yicai Global) July 7 -- Jia Yueting, a well-known Chinese internet entrepreneur and founder of Leshi Holding (Beijing) Co., has decided to step down from the board of Leshi Internet Information and Technology Corp. [SHE:300104] (LeTV) under the pressure of cash shortages.
He will serve as the global chairman of LeCar to continue his pursuit of developing internet-connected cars.
LeTV said in an announcement yesterday that Jia will cease to be its chairman and will leave all other board positions. Jia will remain LeTV's controlling shareholder. The non-listed Leshi Holding affiliates Jia controls will continue to work with its listed arm in a compliant and legal manner.
Jia will serve as the global chairman of LeCar and be responsible for auto financing; global management team building; corporate governance; product research, development and testing; and production assurance, Le Supercar said on its official Weibo yesterday.
A court issued an order last week freezing assets owned by Jia, his wife and his three companies worth a total of USD181.9 million (CNY1.237 billion) after China Merchants Bank Co.'s [SHA:600036] Shanghai branch applied for attachment of property with the court. The Shanghai Higher People's Court ordered a freeze on 99 percent of equity in LeTV owned directly or indirectly Jia. Shares in Le Vision Pictures Co. held by Leshi Holding have largely been mortgaged to Sunac China Holdings Ltd. [HKG:1918], a sign that Leshi Holding was strapped for cash.
LeTV's board has nominated three candidates -- Sun Hongbin, Liang Jun and Zhang Zhao -- as independent directors, the announcement said. LeTV is due to hold a shareholder meeting on July 17 to elect a new chairman.
Sun Hongbin, chairman of property developer Sunac China, will probably become LeTV's new chairman, a LeTV employee told Yicai Global.
Sunac China helped Jia avoid a debt crisis earlier this year by pumping CNY15 billion into Leshi Holding assets including LeTV. A Sunac China affiliate is now LeTV's second-largest shareholder.
"LeTV faces great challenges," Jia said in a statement yesterday before announcing his resignation. "I will take on all the responsibilities. I will persist in my duties until the end for the sake of our employees, users, clients and investors."
In the statement, Jia asked everyone to give some time to Leshi Holding and its car program, pledging that they will repay all their debts to financial institutions, suppliers and any other parties.
After quitting as LeTV's chief executive last month, Jia has resigned as its chairman and will hold no official position at the firm, meaning his influence on it is fading.