Xiaomi founder Lei Jun, a businessman often dubbed the “Steve Jobs of China”, recently donated HK$93 million worth of stocks to the employees of his company Kingsoft.
In an internal e-mail distributed to Kingsoft employees on July 7, company chairman Lei said that Kingsoft’s board of directors had agreed to award him four million company shares, worth a total of about 74.28 million yuan (HK$ 93 million), based on his past three years of work.
According to a report by Tencent News , Lei announced that the money would be split amongst all Kingsoft full-time staff members, with each employee receiving 1,000 shares worth about 18,700 yuan (HK$23,400) each.
“Four million shares is worth a considerable amount of money indeed, and I express my sincere thanks [to the board of directors],” Lei wrote in the e-mail. “But I know that this award is not merely my own to accept and recognise…it is also for all of those struggling on the front lines of Kingsoft.”
Lei added that he had put twenty years of his youth into Kingsoft, “loved” the company and had great aspirations for its growth in the upcoming years - particularly as Kingsoft narrows its focus towards “core businesses designed to promote the transformation of the mobile internet”.
Founded in 1988, Kingsoft became a leader in the Chinese tech industry thanks to its widely-used office software, but the company was faced with rampant domestic piracy in the mid 1990s.
Lei spent 15 years at Kingsoft before leaving the company in 2007 to fund Xiaomi, now the most successful domestic smartphone maker in China.
While Xiaomi’s entrepreneurial success boosted Lei’s net worth to an estimated US$3.9 billion dollars, making him the 23rd wealthiest person in China, the former Kingsoft employee ended up returning to his old company in 2011 as an executive director.
He has since restructured Kingsoft by focusing on mobile internet applications and security solutions, and in 2012, entered the company into a high-profile partnership with Xiaomi to provide cloud storage for smartphone and television owners.