Chinese market-leading property listing and transaction company KE Holdings has announced that Co-founder and CEO Peng Yongdong will assume the role of Chairman after the death of the role's former holder Zuo Hui.
KE Holdings is a NYSE listed company that operates the country's largest real estate marketplace Beike.com. Having started out as a bricks and mortar agency business under the name Lianjia in 2001 the company expanded from its Beijing base to the rest of China and launched its listings company Beike in 2018.
Touching most parts of transactions valued at a total $536 billion in 2020 alone, Beike as both a listings portal as well as a brokerage, is in many ways an archetypal model of the working end-to-end real estate company that many others around the world may privately be trying to mirror. Although there is stiff competition from Anjuke and Fang among others and some controversy within the market, KE Holdings is largely considered to be the market leader and posted 2020 revenues of over $11 billion.
As one of the founders and a man credited with being a visionary in China's real estate market, Zuo Hui was not only the company's Chairman but also the sole controller of a 39% economic stake in the company along with 81% of voting rights. Such shareholder structures, while not entirely uncommon in China, are seen as archaic and far from ideal for modern tech companies and there are calls in some quarters for Hui's shares to be converted to common shares.
After its debut on the NYSE in August 2019, KE Holdings saw an incredible initial valuation rise to $40 billion with share prices going on to hit highs of $75 in November of 2020. Shares in the company have been trading at around $50 in recent weeks.