Baidu fires head of group-buying arm citing ethics violations


Beijing: Baidu Inc. has fired Zeng Liang, head of its Nuomi group-buying division, citing violations of the search company’s ethics.

Senior vice-president Xiang Hailong will become head of Nuomi, a loss-making business that sells discounted Groupon-like products and services, after Zeng’s contract was terminated, Baidu said in an emailed statement Thursday. Zeng had admitted committing the violations and compensated the company for any losses as a result, Beijing-based Baidu said.

Baidu declined to make Zeng available for comment and said he’d already left the company. Messages sent by Bloomberg News to his LinkedIn account weren’t immediately answered.

Baidu didn’t go into specifics on Zeng’s activities except to say they involved his profiting from under-the-table transactions with representatives that deal with its major clients. The violations took place when he was in charge of key accounts, the company said.

Zeng’s dismissal comes as President Qi Lu overhauls the company’s sprawling businesses, including folding autonomous car operations into its own division. The company is revamping Nuomi to further pool resources and strengthen customer service, it said.