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500.com appoints new CEO to oversee crypto pivot

| By Robert Fletcher
Chinese lottery provider 500.com has appointed Xianfeng Yang as its new chief executive to oversee its plans to explore new business opportunities in the blockchain and cryptocurrency industries.

Yang has experience in the cryptocurrency sector, having previously led the construction and operation of the big data centre for 500.com’s Loto Interactive subsidiary.

He also serves as chairman of Changhe Hydropower Absorption Blockchain Big Data Industrial Park.  

Supporting Yang will be Bo Yu, who is to serve as 500.com’s new chief operating officer to support the expansion plans. Yu has served as a director of 500.com since 2017, as well as its general counsel since 2014.

In other news, Zhaofu Tian has resigned as chief technology officer of 500.com due to personal reasons. The resignation was effective from December 31, but the provider has no plan to appoint a successor at this point.

The provider said the new business venture will draw on the experience of its Loto Interactive associate in the blockchain and cryptocurrency sector.

Meanwhile, 500.com has entered a definitive share subscription agreement with Hong Kong-based Good Luck Information Technology for the issuance and sale of new Class A ordinary shares.

Under the agreement, Good Luck Information will purchase 85,572,963 newly issued Class A shares for approximately $23m (£16.8m/€18.7m), based on a share purchase price of US$0.269.

This will be settled in cryptocurrency within one month of the agreement, with Good Luck Information to make full payment in currencies determined by 500.com.

Good Luck Information is controlled by Man San Vincent Law, one of the founders of 500.com who currently holds less than 5% of the provider’s outstanding share capital.

Upon closing, Good Luck Information will hold 16.6% of 500.com’s issued and outstanding ordinary shares. The closing is expected to take place on or before February 20, subject to certain customary closing conditions.

The announcements come after 500.com in November reported a 37.1% year-on-year fall in revenue in the third quarter of 2020, though the renewal of its Swedish operating licence saw it resume activity in the market for the first time this year.

Revenue declined to RMB6.1m (£700,398/€788,051/$936,307) in the three months to 30 September.

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