A slow collapse of the giant Newbee organization has been reported on the Chinese media for the past couple of days and it’s not about the recent abysmal results of their Dota2 team.
The slow decay from TI winners in 2014, to TI runners up in 2017 and now unable to qualify for a single event is the story known to everyone. Behind the scene, Newbee is dealing with an uglier situation which is slowly starting to be exposed by the owners of other Chinese clubs.
This is no longer a drama where players point fingers at their teammates, it’s not about random allegations either, this is where renowned organization owners and investors are starting to ask for the money they are owed.
A few days back, mister Chen Qing, one of the investors at Vici Gaming revealed on his Weibo page that the Newbee owner, mister Yue Wang is not answering to his messages on WeChat anymore.
“Don’t go overboard. @Yue Wang. Reply to my WeChat message now.”
The post alone is not too alarming, however, what western esports fans should know is that Chen Qing is one very active, very involved and a rather respected person in the community. So, his posts on Weibo are getting noticed and are regarded as being legitimate. Immediately after he posted about the Newbee owner dodging him, the Invictus Gaming owner, mister Sicong Wang, replied to him saying that Yue Wang owes money to a lot of other people including to some shady persons, creditors associated with different Chinese mob organizations.
“Even if he promises you that he will give back the money tomorrow, he still won’t pay. He doesn’t have any money right now, and other creditors are looking for him, and trust me, they have priority.”
Later on, he added a new comment giving a suggestion to the VG stakeholder of what to do in order to recover his money.
“You can go to the police and report that he is a drug lord then he will give you the money. Because he needs to maintain his public image. But if the police start an investigation on him, then he cannot earn money anymore, and he won’t be able to give the money back to his creditors”
Sicong Wang was obviously sarcastic and he actually made a reference to a similar situation which happened at the end of last year. Sadly, before he ran into all these money problems, the Newbee owner was regarded in China as the best owner of an esports organization. Until a few days ago, when all these new allegations came to light, it was believed that Yue Wang is the son of the richest man of Anhui province. The same Sincong Wang from iG revealed now that in fact he is the son of a small business owner who is serving time in jail at this moment.
“He is just son of a small business owner. His dad is in jail right now”
Yue Wang completely disappeared from public view a long time ago. At the end of 2017 he was already missing in action for a while, when some of his former employees had to sue him directly to recover their unpaid salaries for six months. Those employees were from LanYou, a parent company of Newbee. Some were more valiant and took on Weibo back then to ask for the money and to explain what’s happening at the Newbee offices. Posts from 2017 have been deleted by now, however, they’ve been indexed and we are able to share them with our readers.
“When can we get paid?
I’m an employee of LanYou company. 2017.10.23, it’s a normal Monday at the office. In the middle of the day the electricity is cut off, then the property owner told us to work from home. The company owes us five months’ salary already – since 1st of May. We haven’t got paid one cent, and the company ran normally until now when the electricity was cut off and we were sent home.“
Yue Wang, owner of both LanYou and Newbee replied back then on Weibo asking for the posts related to this issue to be deleted and promised to pay his employees.
Employee: ”I just want my salary back”
Yue Wang: “Can I explain to you through phone? That’s the way to solve the problem. I will pay everyone’s salary.”
Employee: ”You can explain now.”
Yue Wang: ”I will pay everyone’s salary by the end of this month. Please delete the post now. I can tell you that I’m paying this company debt from my own company money. The board of the company took the money and I was not aware of that, but you are now hurting me personally and my company.”
Employee: “If it’s not your fault, after we get paid we are willing to give all the explanations and clear your name for the public opinion”
Yue Wang: ”I don’t know if there is someone behind you or what, and you won’t listen all the misunderstandings even if I want to explain to you. I said, everyone’s salary will be paid off by Dec.31. But delete the post now. You can post whatever you like if I don’t pay you by that time.”
Yue Wang broke his promise and after not showing up at labor arbitration meetings with his employees, they sued him and they reached a settlement for being paid 60% of their base salary without any other benefits.
More than six months after this incident, Wang hasn’t been seen in public and now other organizations owners are asking him publicly when they can get back the money their. The VG stakeholder is not mentioning how much money he loaned to the Newbee owner, but it’s safe to assume that it’s not pocket money. Sources from the Chinese scene told us that Yue Wang has allegedly lost in the past around 230 million RMB (approximately 3,300,000 US Dollars) by betting on soccer games and that he borrowed money from many people who are directly involved in the esports scene in China.
Interestingly enough, just like it happened almost a year ago, when Yue Wang had to pay his employees, now, when Chen Qing had a similar claim, he actually ended up deleting his initial post saying:
“Its’ ok, he replied to me. I helped him when he was in difficulty even though a lot of people said this behavior was naïve. Hopefully, this is the end of the story.”
The truth is that coincidence or not, ever since The International 2017, the Newbee Dota 2 team was never the same. Whatever the players had to deal with behind the scene is not known. Today we witness a shuffled Newbee that is less than a ghost of the TI7 team. The general vibe in the Chinese scene is bleak and unfortunately, all these happen when TI9 was already announced to be hosted in Shanghai next year.
The 2018-2019 season start has already painted a multitude of concerns. The Chinese Dota 2 scene has got to a point where it lacks new talents which translate in higher costs and weird transfer deals done sometimes on Weibo. What just recently happened between VG and BurNIng who wanted two players of theirs or the quarrel between PSG.LGD and RNG concerning Du “Monet” Peng displayed a certain level of unprofessionalism and disrespect for business procedures. Hopefully, we won’t hear about more management turmoil in this scene that once was to be the most successful of them all. Chinese teams took home the TI trophy three times: Invictus Gaming in 2012, Newbee in 2014 and Wings Gaming in 2016. Through eight years of The International history, the Chinese teams have been in seven grand finals, exception being TI3 when Na’Vi and Alliance fought for the title.
TI9 being held in China is great news for this scene, but if the Chinese organizations don’t get their stuff together and start acting professionally, we might just look at a disaster in the making for them.
*Disclaimer: VPEsports is a Washington State based esports news media company funded by VPGame.