Color Star Technology Co., Ltd., the Cayman Islands-registered, possibly Dubai-based ready-mix concrete company that scrapped its legacy business and recently launched its own extremely janky digital metaverse, continues to struggle with executive turnover. On Aug. 5, Color Star quietly filed paperwork with the Securities and Exchange Commission noting that Biao Lu and Jehan Zeb Khan had resigned simultaneously from their roles as co-CEOs of this strange company, and were replaced by a man named Farhan Qadir. Even by the standards of Color Star, which has now had seven CEOs in just over two years, this is abrupt: Lu and Khan were on the job together for less than two months, and are not stepping back into support roles, but appear to be leaving the company altogether. For the record, this is now the second time that Biao Lu, who also resigned from his role as Chairman of the company’s board of directors, has resigned from the position of Color Star CEO.
Followers of this extremely normal business story will recall that Color Star’s fascinating young CEO, Sir Lucas Capetian, the man who spearheaded the launch of the company’s signature Color World app, resigned suddenly and left the company due to “personal reasons” back in June. At Defector, this was a heartbreaking development: We’d worked diligently over a period of months to establish contact with Capetian, and had received nothing in return beyond a couple terse emails and the threat of a lawsuit. Now, suddenly, Capetian was out of our lives altogether, replaced at the top of this strange company by not one but two new corporate officers. What a time we’d had: It was during Capetian’s eventful stewardship that Color Star entered into the now-infamous sponsorship partnership with the Philadelphia 76ers, and it was Capetian who pivoted from the 76ers deal to a partnership with Villareal of Spain’s La Liga. It was Capetian himself who announced to the world that Color Star had formed a strategic partnership with a super-duper-real biotech company that could eventually give Color World users access to “human cloned organs.” To see this visionary jettisoned from the company he’d led in so many deranged new directions was like watching a beautiful star in the night sky suddenly blink out forever.
Biao Lu and Jehan Zeb Khan did not immediately show their predecessor’s flair for Slick Business. The first news update posted to the company’s extraordinarily busted website (you’ve been warned) after the duo’s June takeover is headlined “Stop wasting time! This is enough~” and features another jarring 30-second video advertisement for the Color World app, with a strange and Cinquain-esque caption:
Immersive visual experience,
fresh and fun new sections,
star entertainment, technological intelligence, and
experience [color world] without leaving home.
come, on! Hurry up and log in to the app store and
This inauspicious launch portended doom. Six days later, Lu and Khan resigned and were replaced by Qadir. Qadir appears to be a mover and shaker: Just over two weeks after taking the helm, Qadir attended a fancy event in Dubai where Color Star announced a “strategic cooperation” with something called Emirates Travellers. As with other recent Color Star partners, it’s not clear at all what Emirates Travellers sells or does, but it’s worth noting that the Color Star press release says the event was attended by members of the royal family of the United Arab Emirates. Neat! Then again, Color Star once announced that they would put likenesses of active 76ers players in their ugly metaverse, an overstatement that may have provided the 76ers organization the escape hatch they needed to parachute out of this hilariously ill-advised partnership agreement. One must never take at face value anything printed in a Color Star press release or advertorial.
The purpose of the new partnership is unclear, but Color Star says their vaunted in-house tech team is busy building the “world’s first metaverse headquarters” for Emirates Travellers, which presumably will have the same Turok-gas-station aesthetic as the Color World shopping mall, announced back in June:
Just days after the glamorous Emirates Travellers announcement, Qadir was back at it, announcing on Sept. 6 a “long-term strategic cooperation” with something called Global Digital Club, which it describes as a “world-renowned professional digital investment club” with a membership of “powerful corporate elites in the global field.” In a startling twist, Global Digital Club has a functioning website and a little bit of an online footprint. In fact, they recently held a private investors event, featuring “business CEOs, venture capital funds, and investors” back on, ah, Sept. 11. Looks fun!
But the biggest development of Color Star’s business was announced Monday, when the company issued a press release describing the upcoming launch of Color Star Technology Co., LTD-branded smart phones. These gizmos will be made in partnership with a company called Anex Korea, which Color Star describes as an “internationally renowned enterprise.” The “‘DONO’ Metaverse mobile phone,” as it is described in the announcement, will come preloaded with the Color World app, so that users can instantly log on and wander around the bleak, empty, bizarrely magenta-soaked digital landscape. “The mobile communication market is our latest new business sector, we are very happy about it, and are confident that we will develop this sector into maturity in the next few years,” says Qadir, via the press release. “While the outside world is focusing on the functions of the Metaverse, we will use mature and perfect technical means to escort users.”
The bet seems to be that sooner or later one of these lurches is bound to pay off. Color Star recently executed something called a “reverse stock split” of shares of its ordinary stock, in order to consolidate the nearly 262 million shares of outstanding stock it’s distributed over the many years and permutations of its business. Reverse stock splits generally produce a bump in stock price, as sets of individual units at a certain market value are converted into one larger unit, maintaining all the consolidated market value. It’s a little artificial, yes, but Color Star’s stock has been trending in the wrong direction for years, and desperate times call for desperate measures. Unfortunately, in Color Star’s case, 40 shares individually worth approximately dog shit are being consolidated into one share of incredibly dense dog shit. This and Color Star’s more ambitious business moves have failed so far to generate enthusiasm among investors: CSCW stock has lost approximately 98 percent of its value over the past five years, and is now trading at a new low of $1.22 per share as of Tuesday afternoon.
But just you wait until those hot Color Star smartphones hit the shelves. As their enthusiastic new CEO says, Color Star “is by no means a traditional technology company, and more we will combine our metaverse content with other businesses, which will find a broader market environment for us, and everything is possible.” That’s the spirit!