Business as usual, says wife as dotcom power couple's marital spat spills into the blogosphere

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 09 March, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 09 March, 2011, 12:00am

When the husband of a husband-and-wife-run business writes in blogs that they are arguing, shareholders can be forgiven for suspecting there is trouble at the top.

But Peggy Yuyu, the chairwoman of mainland internet retailer Ecommerce China Dangdang, has insisted that regular internet revelations by her husband, Dangdang chief executive Li Guoqing, about troubles in their marriage do not mean their ability to co-run the newly public company has been compromised.

Dangdang, a smaller mainland version of that former senior publishing executives Li and Yuyu founded together in 2000, was one of the hottest US IPOs of last year. The company's shares soared 87 per cent on its stockmarket debut in December.

But since the high profile flotation, Li has shocked investors with regular updates about his marriage on Chinese microblogging site Weibo, where he has 260,000 followers.

On February 26, Li blogged he fought with Yuyu, who had then not allowed him to sleep at home. The cause of their spat? His Weibo habit. 'The day before yesterday my wife learned that I showed off on Weibo what a loving couple we are,' Li blogged. 'She was furious and ordered me not to sleep at home.'

Li has been blogging about his marriage since December, prompting waves of online speculation that the dotcom power couple could split. On February 23, Li responded to that gossip with the bizarre revelation: 'I was so angry about the betting, I had dinner with a beautiful actress last night.'

But Yuyu, while refusing to talk about her private life, said the couple remain 'very committed to running the company'.

'I don't like to answer questions [about the relationship], because once I start to answer there will be more marriage questions coming,' she told the Post.

But she added: 'Guoqing and myself and our entire team are very dedicated to the management of the company.'

Dangdang, which has been profitable since 2009 and mainly sells books online within China, raised US$272 million in its New York IPO. The firm releases its first set of quarterly results in New York today.

In January, Li in a colourful blog entry criticised IPO underwriter and Dangdang shareholder Morgan Stanley for 'undervaluing' the business.

Morgan Stanley owns 5.83 per cent of Dangdang. A Morgan Stanley spokesmanperson declined to comment at the time.

Yuyu, 45, who boasts an MBA from New York University, told the Post investors should not read too much into Li's blogs. 'Guoqing is always a very straightforward, straight talking person and he never hides his opinion,' Yuyu said.

She also praised Li's abilities as a chief executive. 'Guoqing is very operations driven, he really digs into the depth [of the business]. He looks at the cost of wrapping paper [for Dangdang's products] in Beijing versus Guangzhou, for example.'

But when asked why Li talks about their marriage on Weibo, Yuyu said:

'I have no idea. He didn't ask my opinion before he started.'