Richard Liu is one of the most influential businessmen in China. He founded JD.com and is the current CEO of the top leading online retail company in the country. Due to its successful business model, the company is compared to Amazon.
The online entrepreneur began his journey in 1998 when Liu launched a store that specialized in selling magnet products. The company brand name was Jingdong, and later on, it expanded to 12 retail stores in 5 years. The enterprise expanded its business to Shanghai, Beijing, and Shenyang, and annually the company makes average revenue of 9 million dollars. Due to its success and presence in the online community, Liu decided to branch the business into an e-commerce platform in 2004.
Early Life of Richard Liu
Liu Qiangdong was born in 1974 in Suiqian, Jiangsu province, in China. He has roots in business because his parents were shipping coal to Southern China from North China. Growing up, Liu had interests in politics. After graduating from a primary school in Jiangsu, he joined the Renmin University of China, where he pursued a degree in Sociology in 1992.
The University of Renmin is reputable for its connections with Political elites in China. However, after realizing that the degree is not a guarantee for him to get a job, Liu spent his free time learning computer programming. He graduated in 1996 and enrolled in China Europe International Business School.
How was JD.com started?
In 1998, Richard Liu started his own business in an Industrial park in Beijing. The company was named after him and Gong Xiaojing, his girlfriend from the Renmin University of China.
During the outbreak of SARS in 2003, staff and clients of Jingdong were kept at home due to safety, and this was when Liu ventured into online business. Because of the SARS outbreak, Jingdong incurred losses of up to 8 million Yuan. His first online retail store was in 2004, and later on, he founded JD.com in 2005. The website’s domain name is the short form for Jingdong, and in the same year, Liu rejected a bid to sell JD.com for 18 million.
JD.com is a company that is committed to providing its customers with quality and authentic products in large volumes. Due to its direct online sales business strategy, it’s the largest e-commerce company in China and the second-largest internet based company in terms of sales. The company is commonly referred to as the Amazon of China, having a market share of 54.3 in 2014 and was listed as the first Chinese company on Fortune 500 companies.
Liu’s approach in business is believed to have majorly advanced China’s success in e-commerce. Their diversity in providing products ranging from apparel, fresh food, cosmetics, and electronics is the secret behind JD.com’s successful business model. The company focuses on sourcing goods from suppliers directly, and selling to consumers, providing a reliable supply chain.
The company has paid attention to reliable practices, which has earned them consumer trust, boosting its growth in the country. Through logistics and innovation, Liu has been able to reach millions of families in China and around the world, placing JD.com as a global industrial leader.
Liu’s contribution to China and global business does not go unrecognized. He received the China Economic Person of the Year award from the largest television network in China, CCTV. Forbes has also recognized Richard Liu as one of the World’s Greatest Leaders due to his achievements in e-commerce.
Liu has been a contributor to methods and insights regarding future innovative trends in retail businesses at the Economic Forum in Davos, a world-class business Convention.