Richard Qiangdong Liu is one of China’s most influential entrepreneurs. The founder of JD.com (NASDAQ: JD), the country’s largest online retailer as well as biggest overall retailer, Liu has been the company’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer since he founded it in 2004.
The beginnings of the online retailer date back to June 1998, when Richard Liu started a storefront that focused on distributing magneto-optical products. Then called Jingdong, the company rapidly expanded to 12 stores over the next five years. By 2003, the enterprise had expanded its footprint to Beijing, Shanghai and Shenyang, and its annual revenues approximated to $9 million. Given his company’s success as well as the burgeoning e-commerce industry at the time, Liu decided to launch an online version of the business in January of 2004.
JD.com’s commitment to quality and authenticity as well as its wide range of product offerings culminated in such a vast transaction volume as well as its status as China’s largest online direct sales company that it is often referred to as the country’s Amazon. Its revenue flow makes it the third largest internet company in the world and the largest Chinese retailer. The company’s market share as of 2014 was 54.3 percent. It was listed on NASDAQ that year, and two years later it became the first Chinese online enterprise to be listed as one of Fortune 500 Companies.
Liu’s business approach and model are believed to have significantly advanced China’s e-commerce boom. JD.com offers a rich and diverse product repertoire ranging from fresh food and apparel to electronics and cosmetics. It sources its goods from suppliers directly, and it resells them to its shoppers, thus allowing the company control over the supply chain and product authenticity. This not only increases consumer trust, but it highlights that the company prioritizes honesty and reliability practices which had been the driving forces of its unrivaled growth in the country’s vast market. JD.com’s rapid and vast success are in part due to a logistics system that Liu established as means of ensuring goods are never lost or damaged during the delivery process. Through a synergistic approach that encompassed cutting-edge innovations in logistics, artificial intelligence, the “internet of things,” as well as robotics, Liu effectively reached millions of families in China as well as around the world. This quickly placed JD.com among the global industry leaders.
Liu received a degree in Sociology from the People’s University of China in Beijing and an EMBA degree from the China Europe International Business School. In addition to his primary business focus, his studies also encompassed computer programming.
Liu’s entrepreneurial successes did not go unrecognized. He was recipient of the “2011 China Economic Person of the Year” award from CCTV, China’s largest national television network. He also received several accolades in recognition of his achievements in the e-commerce industry, including the “2011 Chinese Business Leader” as well as Fortune China’s “2012 Chinese Businessman” awards. He has also been listed as one of “World’s Greatest Leaders” by Forbes. He is also sharing his insights and methods as well as insights in regard to future innovation trends within the retail sector as a speaker at world-class forums such as the World Economic Forum in Davos. Fortune has ranked him number 48 among the world’s greatest leaders, stating that Liu “has few of the trappings of a celebrity CEO.” He has also been praised for having little corporate ego. This is highlighting Liu’s efforts and commitment – despite his position, he still dedicates one day a year as a delivery person for his enterprise.