Zhou Yahui, a Chinese billionaire who purchased a controlling stake in gay dating app Grindr, is paying his wife Li Qiong $1.1 billion in one of China’s costliest divorce settlements ever.
Zhou, who is also chairman of Beijing Kunlun Wanwei Tech Company, was ordered by a court in Beijing’s Haidian district on Sept. 13 to give 277 million shares (pdf, link in Chinese) in the company—worth about $1.1 billion based on the stock’s closing price of 25.67 ($3.90) yuan per share on that day—to Li. She has pledged not to trim her holdings in Kunlun’s shares in the next 12 months. Zhou retains 34.5% of shares in the company.
Zhou, 39, met his wife of the same age at elementary school. It is not known when the two were married, but since their marriage they have been spending most of their time in the US. Li was rarely seen in public.
While Zhou’s divorce is grabbing headlines for its exorbitant cost, divorce is also part of a growing trend in China. The numbers are still very low compared to the West, but in 2007, the divorce rate in China was 1.59‰, rising to 2.79‰ in 2015, according to China’s Ministry of Civil Affairs (link in Chinese). It costs just nine yuan (link in Chinese) and takes half an hour for a couple to finalize a divorce at China’s Civil Affairs department.
Zhou’s settlement, however, still pales in comparison to that of Wu Yajun, chairwoman of Longfor Properties Co., a Hong Kong-listed Chinese property developer, who paid her husband (link in Chinese) HK$21.3 billion (US$2.75 billion) in 2012 .
This article originally said, incorrectly, that Li would receive 70.54 million shares, not 277 million.