Careful what you tweet

Director hints at retirement

Careful what you tweet

Oops: Feng Xiaogang

Celebrities are now well-accustomed to using weibo, China’s Twitter-equivalent, to broadcast their inner musings. But as filmmaker Feng Xiaogang recently discovered, there is a downside to too much disclosure. Deliberating publicly on his dark mood has cost him millions of yuan.

On February 8, Feng complained of his general fatigue with working life on Sina Weibo, where he has over 7 million followers: “My love for filmmaking is becoming weaker and weaker, and I’m more and more fed up with this life. Maybe it is time for me to quit filmmaking.”

Clearly, multimillionaire Feng was having a bad day. And soon enough so were the considerably worse-off investor relations people at the production company Huayi Brothers, a long-time partner of Feng’s, which saw its share price slide 0.2% over the next two days despite a 3.7% rise in general in stock prices on Shenzhen’s ChiNext exchange.

That’s even after it announced that it expected unaudited profits for 2011 to top Rmb216 million ($34 million), up 45% from the year before.

The drop in share price wiped out Rmb320 million in Huayi market value. Feng himself owns a stake in the firm, and it fell Rmb3 million in value, comments China Securities Journal.

News of his financial misfortune seemed to snap Feng out of his melancholic mood. Soon he he was backtracking. “I am not selfish and will do my best to complete my contract with Huayi Brothers,” Feng wrote on his weibo the next day.

“Please consider complaints on my microblog the remarks of a spoilt child,” he urged.

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