Investors have been taking hints dropped via a post by Zhang Zetian, aka the milk tea belle and celebrity wife of billionaire Richard Lui Qiangdong, chief executive of the Chinese e-commerce giant JD.com, who is embroiled in a sexual assault case in the United States.
Zhang wrote in a post on her WeChat account on the eve of the Mid-Autumn Festival: “As long as the whole family is together, life is complete. Hope that with perseverance the clouds will part to show the moon.”
Yet the unresolved case has continued to drag down JD.com’s share price for the month since Liu’s arrest in Minneapolis on an allegation of raping a Chinese student at the University of Minnesota.
Shares in JD.com, China’s second largest e-commerce portal behind only Alibaba, have fallen 18% on Nasdaq since September.
The 45-year-old tycoon, who has an estimated net wealth of US$7.9 billion, was able to avoid jail and left the US on September 2, and so far there has been no charge laid by prosecutors in the US. But investors are still wondering if JD.com will take a toll if a trial does begin.
Shares of JD.com changed hands at $25.43 on Thursday, down close to 40% in the year-to-date. In June, Alphabet invested $550 million for a 1% stake.
That said, Liu can perhaps heave a sigh of relief as the share price seemed to stabilize after the post by the milk tea belle, a much idolized social media star in China’s cyber domain.
There was extensive media coverage when Liu was found courting the 20-year-old Zhang by salivating paparazzi four years ago, and JD.com issued a statement in early 2015 denying Liu and Zhang had terminated their relationship, not too long before their marriage near the Great Barrier Reef off northeast Australia.
It was reported last week that Zhang had put her 598-square-meter home in Sydney up for sale – for A$15 million (US$10.8 million), lower than the A$16.4 million the couple paid for it in April 2015.
Curiously, the luxury home was the subject of a sexual assault in late 2015 when Liu threw a party inside the palatial house. One of his VIP guests was later found guilty of sexually assaulting a young woman.