Richard Qiangdong Liu is the Founder of JD.com, formerly Jingdong and 360buy Ltd. He has been the company’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer since its inception in 2004.
In June 1998, Liu started Jingdong in Beijing, as a storefront engaged in the distribution of magneto-optical products. The company saw rapid growth in its first few years, growing to 12 chain stores across Beijing, Shanghai, and Shenyang by 2003, and earning annual revenues of around $9 million USD. Seeing the success that e-commerce was gaining at the time, Liu launched an online version of the business in January 2004.
In 2007, Liu began to build a national logistics system to cater to the astronomical rise in JD’s popularity throughout the country. He realized early on that there was Chinese logistics firm that could deliver to every part of the country, so people living in the most rural areas had to travel to their nearest town to buy appliances and other goods, leading to much higher prices in small towns than in big cities. After seeing an opportunity in the market, Liu insisted that JD build its own national logistics system to avoid losing or damaging items during delivery, creating innovations for the country and transforming retail and e-commerce for its one billion users. By the end of 2014, JD had launched 3,210 delivery and pickup stations in 1,862 Chinese counties, almost two-thirds of all counties in the country. In 2014, Amazon switched from using third-party logistics firms to making the “last mile” deliveries itself, following the model in the United States that JD established in the Chinese market.
Unlike other dominant Chinese e-commerce brands, JD.com made a distinct practice of sourcing goods directly from suppliers and reselling to its shoppers rather than providing the platform to sell directly but leaving the handling of goods to outside delivery companies. This enveloping practice allows JD to verify the authenticity of goods being sold, increasing consumer trust in China’s wary e-commerce industry. This focus on honesty and reliability has been the driver for JD’s staggering growth in China’s vast market. As a result, Richard Liu’s retail method and model are credited for the country’s boom in e-commerce.
JD.com has grown to become the country’s largest online direct sales company in terms of transaction volume. In 2014, JD.com had a market share of 54.3 percent and was listed on NASDAQ on May 22, 2014. Under Qiangdong Liu’s leadership, JD.com listed in 2014 and by 2016 was the first Chinese Internet company to make the Fortune 500 Companies list. JD.com is recognized as the third largest internet company globally and the largest retailer in China by revenue. Liu’s foresight and endeavors in cutting-edge innovations in logistics, artificial intelligence, the “internet of things,” and robotics have reached millions of families in China and the around the world while solidifying JD’s stake as an industry leader.
In December 2011, Richard Liu received the prestigious “2011 China Economic Person of the Year” award from CCTV – the country’s largest national television network. Liu’s other awards include recognition for achievements in the e-commerce industry in China, such as the “2011 Chinese Business Leader’’ and Fortune China’s “2012 Chinese Businessman.” He has also been named to Fortune’s list of the “World’s Greatest Leaders.” As a frequent speaker at world-class forums like the World Economic Forum in Davos, Richard Liu is well regarded on the international stage for delivering insights on future innovation trends and the retail sector. According to Fortune, which has ranked Liu as number 48 in its list of the world’s greatest leaders, Liu “has few of the trappings of a celebrity CEO,” and little corporate ego. Despite running a mega-billion-dollar global corporation, Liu still spends one day each year as a JD.com delivery person.
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. While in school, Liu self-taught computer programming on the side of his main studies.