Confirming the arrest, China's Xinhua news agency said Gome company spokesman He Yangqing would make a statement on Monday, but gave no other details.

Huang set up his home appliances distribution firm with 30,000 yuan ($4,400 at current exchange rates) in the 1980s.

The firm has since become a nationwide, earning Huang the nickname "China's Sam Walton – a reference to the founder of US retail giant Wal-Mart.

Huang was ranked as China's second richest man in a list compiled by US business magazine Forbes earlier this year.