Alibaba executive Patrick Liu Chunning arrested by Chinese authorities in corruption probe

Joe Hall
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Senior Alibaba executive Patrick Liu Chunning has been arrested over allegations of corruption during his time at Tencent, a rival Chinese internet firm.

Read more: Alibaba wants to create China's HBO and Netflix equivalent

In a statement Alibaba insisted the Chinese authorities' probe had "nothing to do with" its own operations.

Liu is vice president of Alibaba Group and president of its digital entertainment business Alibaba Pictures, a role he took after leaving Tencent in 2013.

The 39-year-old executive has led Alibaba Pictures' ambitious expansion into the Chinese media industry which has included its plans to build a streaming service like HBO and Netflix.

Five other former Tencent employees have been arrested since 2014 as part of China's crackdown on corruption in major institutions. Tencent said the arrests followed an internal investigation "brought to light bribery and corruption" among some employees.

In a statement posted to its Weibo account Alibaba affirmed it would assist the investigation where it could and would also offer Liu legal support.

It said:

We understand that Liu Chunning has been detained by the police due to bribery allegations during his time at Tencent Holdings; we are extremely shocked by the news. We support Tencent's anti-corruption efforts and believe Tencent was being objective and fair regarding its report to the police.

Shares in Alibaba Pictures appeared unaffected by the news, rising over five per cent on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.

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