Momo Founder Accused of Corruption, Other Ethical Lapses Before New York IPO

Natalie Wang January 23, 2015 9:46pm (updated)


Just one day before China’s popular dating app Momo, known colloquially as China’s Tinder, went public on Nasdaq, its founder Tang Yan was accused of misconduct, corruption and a questionable personal lifestyle issue by fellow Chinese tech giant NetEase, the former employer of the Momo founder. The accusations soon become a sticky online topic that made headlines across Chinese media.

In a statement issued by NetEase in the early morning of December 10, the tech giant said Tang created Momo while he was still employed at NetEase from 2003 to 2011. Tang “took advantage of his job to gain information and technology resources to create Momo,” the statement said. This violated Tang’s labour contract and was a lapse of professional work ethics, it added.

Tang Yan

But perhaps one of the most serious charges involved corruption. “As NetEase’s former chief editor, Tang Yang abused the company’s trust in him and funnelled more than one million RMB to his wife’s company called Sidu Advertising Company,” the statement reads.

The accusations went on and said Tang was arrested for 10 days by Beijing police in 2007 “for personal lifestyle issues” without giving details.

On top of this fiasco, a Hangzhou website mounted a case against Momo earlier this week, saying Tang stole the name Momo from their company, Wall Street Journal reported.

Momo has stayed silent due to US laws that restrict companies planning IPOs from releasing information to the public.  The app currently has more than 180 million registered users.

Photos: Inside; sina

Natalie Wang

Journalist based in Hong Kong, writes about China and wine.