(Yicai Global) Oct. 31 -- A number of well-known projects which gathered cash on JD.com Inc.'s [NASDAQ:JD] crowdfunding platform allegedly recruited click farms, including the CNY100-million (USD15.04-million) Power Egg drone which set a national crowdfunding record, Beijing Youth Daily reported online, quoting a netizen's comments on an online forum.
Click farms pay employees to carry out certain actions on a client's website or webpage. In this case, several companies raising money on JD Crowdfunding reportedly hired such firms to bump up contributions to their fundraising projects, giving the impression that they were more popular than they really were to help secure genuine funds.
'Internal materials' at JD Crowdfunding show that at least 1,000 projects, including Power Egg, have used click farming, the netizen said, adding that four of the top ten projects were on the list.
One click farm alone contributed to 36,000 of Power Egg's donations, he added. The unmanned aerial vehicle clocked 65,000 supporters, according to the JD Crowdfunding website, so click farmers allegedly made up more than 50 percent of the project's backers. In October 2016, the Power Egg project became the first on the platform to secure over CNY100 million in funding.
A firm backed by Chen Shengqian, chief executive of JD Finance, also recruited click farms, the netizen added. Between 2014 and 2016, Nanjing Kuailun Intelligent Technology Co. offered up several products on the crowdfunding platform, and also allegedly hired click farms. Its F0 ultra-light electric scooter reportedly had more than 6,200 fake supporters 'contributing' over CNY8 million, making up more than 40 percent of total funds raised.
Chen holds a 1.74-percent stake in the firm, and JD Finance led its pre-A equity crowdfunding round by investing CNY1.06 million, public data shows.