Billionaire games tycoon, 39, dies after being poisoned

Billionaire Chinese Game of Thrones games tycoon and Netflix producer, 39, dies after being poisoned ‘by a co-worker following fights among his company’s executives’

  • Billionaire Lin Qi, 39, was hospitalized on December 16 and died Christmas day
  • Lin was the chairman and founder of Chinese games developer Yoozoo Group
  • The group is best known for the ‘Game of Thrones: Winter Is Coming’ game 
  • Sold Netflix adaptation rights to bestselling books The Three-Body Problem
  • Lin – who has a net worth of £960m – was one of show’s executive producers
  • Xu Yao, a Yoozoo senior executive, has since been arrested, local media reports
  • Arrest comes amid rumours of a dispute among the company’s executive ranks

Billionaire Netflix producer and tycoon behind the Game of Thrones video game Lin Qi, 39, (pictured) died after being poisoned in alleged murder plot by a co-worker 

A billionaire Netflix producer and tycoon behind the Game of Thrones video game died after being poisoned in alleged murder plot by a co-worker.

Lin Qi, 39, the chairman and founder of Chinese company Yoozoo Group, was hospitalized after being poisoned on December 16 and died on Christmas day.

Games developer Yoozoo – best known for the ‘Game of Thrones: Winter Is Coming’ game – sold Netflix the adaptation rights to bestselling sci-fi books The Three-Body Problem.

Lin – who has a net worth of around £960m (6.8billion yuan) – was listed as one of the show’s executive producers. 

Xu Yao, a senior executive in Yoozoo’s film and television division, has since been arrested, local media reports. 

The arrest comes amid rumours of a dispute among the company’s executive ranks. 

Yao is said to be a University of Michigan Law School grad who joined the company in 2017.

It was announced in September that Netflix had called on ‘Game of Thrones’ creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss to lead the English-language adaption of the popular series

He is currently head of Yoozoo subsidiary The Three-Body Universe, which holds the rights to the novels being adapted by Netflix.

It was announced in September that Netflix had called on Game of Thrones creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss to head up the adaptation of the books. 

Local media claim that the executive split led to the assault on Lin, which was allegedly carried out with poison in a cup of pu-erh tea.

‘At 5pm on Dec 17, 2020, the police received a call from a hospital regarding a patient surnamed Lin,’ said the statement from Shanghai police on Wednesday.

‘During the patient’s treatment, the hospital said it had determined that the patient had been poisoned. Following the call, the police began an investigation.

Liu Cixin’s Three-Body Problem saga consists of the three books and tells the story of Earth’s first contact with an alien civilization. The trilogy became an international bestseller

‘According to investigations on site and further interviews, the police found that a suspect surnamed Xu, who is a coworker of the victim Lin, was the most likely the perpetrator. The suspect Xu has been arrested and investigations continue,’ it added. 

Lin took himself to hospital after he felt unwell and was initially believed to be stable.

But Yoozoo later released a statement, the BBC reports, which read: ‘Goodbye youth.

‘We will be together, continue to be kind, continue to believe in goodness, and continue the fight against all that is bad.’

Liu Cixin’s Three-Body Problem saga – which consists of the three books Remembrance of Earth’s Past, The Dark Forest and Death’s End – tells the story of Earth’s first contact with an alien civilization.

The first tome follows Ye Wenjie, who attempts to held extraterrestrials invade Earth after witnessing the death of her father during China’s Cultural Revolution.

Li Qi, CEO of Youzu, was hosptalized after the poisoning but is in a stable condition

Praised for its scope and originality Three-Body Problem became an international bestseller and has been translated into dozens of languages.

The trilogy also made history as the first Asian novel to win a Hugo Award for Best Novel, the highest honor in science-fiction and fantasy literature.

Yoozoo Group and Three-Body Universe had previously acquired the rights to the books’ adaptions in 2015 but the big-budget English-language version was later acquired by Netflix. 

It will be Benioff and Weiss’ first dramatic project with Netflix since signing an overall deal with the streaming giant last year.  

The author of the Three-Body Problem Liu Cixin will serve as a consulting producer alongside Ken Liu, who wrote the English translation for The Three-Body Problem and sequel Death’s End.

This is not the first time that the project has been hit by scandal.

A Chinese film adaptation of Three-Body Problem began in 2015, but never made its way to production.

Yoozoo Group said they were working with Cixin on the movie and a video game version but it soon became mired with reports of problems on set and the July 2016 release day was pushed back.

A 2017 release date was also later scraped with some Chinese sci-fi fans accusing Yoozoo of having given up on the project.

Author of the trilogy Liu Cixin

This seemed confirmed with the company selling the rights into Netflix earlier this year.

Yet the controversy did not stop there.

Shortly after the Netflix adaption was announced, the streaming giant received a letter of complaint from a group of Republican Senators who claimed that the production would ‘normalize’ China’s human rights abuses through its collaboration with the saga’s author.

They referenced a 2019 New York interview from Cixin in which he responded to a question about China’s mass internment of Uyghur Muslims in the country’s Xinjiang Province by stating: ‘Would you rather that they be hacking away at bodies at train stations and schools in terrorist attacks? If anything, the government is helping their economy and trying to lift them out of poverty.’

Netflix responded by stating that Cixin’s books stood apart from his opinions and that they, Benioff and Weiss did not share those views.

They said the comment was ‘entirely unrelated to his book or this Netflix show’ and that the company ‘judges individual projects on their merits’.

Benioff and Weiss have also remained hopeful about the project.

‘Liu Cixin’s trilogy is the most ambitious science-fiction series we’ve read, taking readers on a journey from the 1960s until the end of time, from life on our pale blue dot to the distant fringes of the universe,’ they said after the Netflix project was released.

‘We look forward to spending the next years of our lives bringing this to life for audiences around the world.’ 

Yoozoo Group’s co-president Chen Fang told local media that reports on fighting among executives was untrue. Pictured at the China Digital Entertainment Expo in July

 Netflix has not yet commented on the poisoning.

Yoozoo Group’s co-president Chen Fang told local media that reports on fighting among executives was untrue.

‘We hope that radical people and [such] behaviour will not change our well wishes for the world or change our destination,’ Yoozoo told employees, the Morning Post reported.

‘The company is operating normally,’ it added, after its stock dropped three percent Wednesday following the announcement.

The company made net profits of $75.8 million this year according to Variety. 

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