BEIJING: The founder and chairman of China's leading real estate broker, KE Holdings Inc, died on Thursday after an unexpected worsening of his illness, the company said.
The firm's U.S. shares plunged more than 10per cent in pre-opening trade on the news, but the exact cause of death was not disclosed.
Zuo Hui, born in 1971, funded China's most popular property brokerage brand Lianjia in 2001, before it was incorporated into integrated housing transaction and service platform KE Holdings.
The SoftBank-backed realtor listed on the New York Stock Exchange in August 2020, at the time the largest IPO of a Chinese company since March 2018.
Forbes magazine ranked Zuo 128th on its 2021 list of billionaires in April.
The company's directors will make appropriate arrangements and plan an announcement within two weeks, said the company, which told Reuters its operations were running normally.
Ke was among dozens of Chinese internet giants such as Alibaba, Tencent and ByteDance, told by the market regulator in April to hold self-inspections to rule out any abuse of their market dominance.
(Reporting by Lusha Zhang and Ryan Woo; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)