Oct 27, 2020|

Richard Liu’s Coaching Management Style Helps Incubate Unicorns


by Yuchuan Wang

On September 27th, JD Health, JD.com’s health unicorn, filed to list on Hong Kong Stock Exchange. Recalling the company’s six years’ of development, Lijun Xin, CEO of JD Health, is grateful for Richard Liu’s confidence in the team and his directional coaching.

In the early development stage of the company’s health business, Xin and his team encountered many problems. Liu was always encouraging the team to see the opportunities in the industry and believed that they could build another JD.com through JD Health.

In 2017, when the business had already become China’s largest online retailer for pharmaceuticals, Xin was hesitating as to whether to pursue other medical services such as online medical consulting. “You have to do the business thoroughly. If JD wants to enter the health industry, the business should spin itself off from the retail business and develop according to the industry’s own laws,” said Liu.

In August 2020, Hurun named JD Health the youngest unicorn valued at US$ 7 billion and now its business has extended from retail to internet-based medical service, intelligent hospital solutions, and consumer healthcare services.

When Liu first established JD Digits (formerly JD Finance), he gave Shengqiang Chen, CEO of JD Digits, two directives, and let him lead the business independently. First, do the dirtiest, bitterest, the most tiring and most difficult work for the industry as this will be the most valuable and long-term; Second, Liu required that if JD Digits were to make RMB 100 yuan, it would reserve RMB 30 yuan for clients and partners.

The valuation of JD Digits has reached more than RMB 200 billion yuan and filed its IPO papers on the Star market in Shanghai in September this year. The IPO is widely expected to be the biggest digital technology IPO on the Star market.

“Apart from Liu, those who did real jobs at JD are now emerging from the backstage, which is a good thing for investor confidence,” said David Dai, a Hong Kong-based analyst with Bernstein, in an interview with Bloomberg.

Since 2018, JD.com made many efforts to adjust its organization structure so that each business unit can be focused on its operations and development. In addition to the organization upgrade, the atmosphere of appointing young managers, advocating for technology innovation and constantly improving talent cultivation plans are imperative for JD’s future development.