Richard Liu, also known as Richard Liu Qiandong, is the Founder, Chairman, and Chief Executive Officer of JD.com, which, today, boasts a net worth of nearly $60 billion, making it China’s largest e-commerce retailer. Richard Liu Qiandong attended the Renmin University of China, located in the Haidian District of Beijing, where he garnered a degree in sociology and later continued his education at the China Europe International Business School, earning an EMBA. During his time at Renmin University of China, Richard Liu attempted a number of unsuccessful business ventures, including opening a restaurant, but also spent much of his time “honing his computer programming skills through freelance coding work.” After graduation, many of his peers pursued governmental positions, as well as job opportunities abroad, yet he found himself drawn to the business world, and after a short stint with the health company, Japan Life, he opened his first brick-and-mortar style shop, selling in magneto-optical products in 1998. This proved to be the right decision for Richard Liu, as his business quickly evolved into twelve locations, laying the foundation for what would eventually become, JD.com.
In 2003, with his business flourishing, China was ravaged by the SARS epidemic, which significantly hindered travel throughout the country and posed a major threat to the success of his company. After heeding the suggestion of one of his company’s managers, Richard Liu Qiandong began the transition from physical retail outlets, to the world of e-commerce. JD.com was launched in 2004, and by 2005, after comparing the logistics of both, his brick-and-mortar business and the e-commerce sector, he decided to fully transition to online retail, closing his physical stores. This period also marked the company’s inclusion of consumer goods to go along with the electronics sector. During this time, the competition was stiff amongst the growing e-commerce companies, but Richard Liu was able to separate JD.com from its competitors by providing only legitimate products, while others often dabbled in counterfeit goods. Under the leadership of its CEO, JD.com continues to grow, creating partnerships with renowned companies around the world, including Wal-Mart and WeChat owner, Tencent.