Didi President Jean Liu reveals in private email details of her cancer

Jing Gao

Liu Qing or Jean Liu, President of Chinese ride-hailing app Didi Chuxing, has just revealed that she is recovering from recently diagnosed breast cancer.

In an internal email to employees she wrote that she underwent surgery “a couple of days ago” and a biopsy determined that the tumor removed was malignant, “commonly understood to mean breast cancer.”

“I feel pretty okay. I am home now,” the email reads. “To play on the safe side, I will still receive treatment, but both my doctor and I are very optimistic about it. I don’t think this will have any major impact on my life or work or affect our networking and public relations plans.”

At the end, Liu also advised her employees to adopt a healthier diet, maintain a better work-life balance and exercise more.

Liu was present at the U.S.-China Internet Industry Forum at Microsoft last Tuesday with business leaders from both countries and Chinese President Xi Jinping. She appeared fine during the meeting. Two weeks ago, she announced Didi’s USD 100 million investment in Uber’s biggest U.S.rival Lyft with its co-founder John Zimmer in New York City.

It is not clear how exactly Didi Kuaidi will work around Liu’s medical conditions. When reached for comment, Didi confirmed the information to Chinese tech blog Huxiu.com, adding that Liu’s title and duties will be retained, and execs will visit her and fill her in on important proceedings.

Born in 1978, Liu is the daughter of Liu Chuanzhi, the founder of Lenovo – the largest PC maker in the world. Liu Qing joined Didi Kuaidi in 2014 after a 12-year tenure at Goldman Sachs which culminated in her becoming Goldman Sachs’ Asia-Pacific Executive Director.

According to a previous Xinhua profile of her, Liu is widely regarded as a workaholic by her colleagues. She set a record for working 140 hours a week during her first year at Goldman Sachs.

Recent news reports of public figures suffering from serious health problems in the Chinese media, have raised awareness of illnesses that working professionals usually ignore.

Kai-fu Lee, former Google China president and founder of Innovation Works, disclosed on his Weibo page in September 2013 that he had been diagnosed with lymphoma. The opinion leader with 49 million followers on Sina Weibo, a Twitter-like microblogging service, attributed his cancer diagnosis to years of sleep deprivation from being too preoccupied with his work.

“In the face of cancer, all men are equal. Everyone is assigned the same amount of time at birth. If you overuse it when you are young, you run out of it later down the road. Don’t exert yourself, and then you will have a running stream of life,” a Weibo user commented on hearing about Lee’s announcement.

Didi Chuxing commands about 80% of the Chinese ride-sharing market. It just recently closed a three billion USD funding round and it has invested in Uber’s regional rivals, Lyft and India’s Ola, in an escalating battle with Uber for market share.

“In the future, I will continue to blaze trails with you guys and reach places that have been unreachable. [Facing] the brightest star in the night sky, I will cheer myself on as well as you guys!” Liu wrote in her email.

Jing Gao

Jing founded her own blog Ministry of Tofu and worked with Los Angeles Times, Greenpeace and LinkAsia. She graduated with a master's degree in Journalism from the University of Illinois.

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