Known as the founder of JD.com and serving as the company’s Chief Executive Officer and Chairman, Richard Liu is one of the wealthiest men in China, with a net worth, according to Forbes, of $7.3 billion. The businessman attended the 2018 World Economic Forum, where, during an interview, he gave more insight into his business and how things got started.
Richard Liu graduated from Renmin University of China, earning his degree in sociology, and then later on he got a degree from the China Europe International Business School. While he was in year 3 of university, he opened a restaurant, which didn’t go well due to the fact that he was still a student and couldn’t dedicate too much time to his business.
During the interview, he points out that his parents had a transport business shipping coal, but that things weren’t going well and that they were still poor. He wasn’t able to go study abroad, and due to the fact that the grandmother who brought him up was sick and in need of medication, the family needed money. He rented a 4 square meter spot in Beijing, selling computer accessories in 1998. That was his start in the world of retail, and the start of what will soon become JD.com.
The business started to thrive, and at one point they had a total of 12 shops under its name. However, the SARS outbreak in 2003 forced a change in business model. In order to not force their staff to face the dangers of SARS, they were sent home, with the managers trying to figure out what needed to be done. One of the managers suggested a move to online, and by 2004 all stores were closed and JD.com was born.
When asked whether or not the manager who suggested to the move to online is still with the company, Richard Liu jokingly answered that he is already a billionaire. From starting out of necessity and with a limited budget, JD.com is nowadays the largest e-commerce platform in China, with 500 logistic centers and a total of 167,000 employees.
Read More: corporate.jd.com/liu-qiangdong-jd-ceo-about