Richard Liu: The Billionaire Behind JD.com

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Richard Liu, the billionaire founder of Chinese online retailer JD.com, is known for his commanding personality. He is also an advocate for women’s rights in China, with a wife who’s is an accomplished businessperson herself. Liu was born on June 6, 1973, in Suqian City of Jiangsu Province. He grew up to be the chairman and CEO of the second-largest e-commerce company in China.

A Bachelor’s degree in computer science followed by an MBA at the Renmin University of China was completed with honors. His journey to building JD.com began when he worked as a software engineer for Japanese car manufacturer Toyota. Liu opened his first electronics store, which had a 50-product catalog on the online platform. He then dropped out of grad school to pursue entrepreneurship full-time and established Joyo.com in 2004, which Amazon later bought in 2004.

In 2010, Liu founded JD.com, and this e-commerce company is known as ‘Jingdong Mall’ in Chinese. It has the largest business-to-customer e-commerce platform in China. Its first customer was Liu’s wife, Zhang Zetian, who bought a microwave oven for 249 yuan ($39). JD.com is now known as Jingdong Inc. The company raised more than $1 billion from international investors, including Tencent Holdings, Temasek Holdings, and DST Global.

It has over 266 million active customer accounts and competes with Alibaba, China’s largest e-commerce company headquartered in Hangzhou. Last November, JD.com raised funds to the tune of $2 billion at a valuation of approximately $55 billion. This amount also includes an additional investment by Walmart, Google, Tencent, and some existing investors. Walmart is the world’s largest retail company with revenue of $485 billion in 2016, whereas Google is one of the most popular search engines around the globe.

JD.com had its IPO on the New York Stock Exchange in 2014, while Alibaba went public in September last year. Liu has an estimated worth of $10.8 billion and ranks number 28 on Forbes’ list of billionaires in China. He is also the second wealthiest man in the eCommerce industry, with Alibaba creator Jack Ma holding that honor. Liu was named as one of the most powerful businesspeople by Fortune Magazine recently.

JD.com’s market performance suggests that it has potential for future growth. The company’s revenue increased by 28% in 2016, while net income was up 147%. Its market capitalization is around $46 billion, and the stock price has increased by more than 45% this year alone.

Richards Liu, JD.com CEO, is an advocate of women’s rights in China. He stated that he has great admiration for his wife, Zhang Zetian. She is one of the five most powerful businesswomen in China and ranked number 30 on Fortune’s ’40 Under 40′ list last year. Liu believes that Zhang will find success even if she had to start over from scratch. In a CNBC interview, Liu stated that Zhang was skilled at making decisions even when she hadn’t enough information. According to Richard Liu, she also can see the big picture and think five steps ahead of her competitors.

In 2008, Richard Liu married his wife in a private wedding ceremony in Beijing. His wife is 11 years younger than him. Zhang is the founder of Shenzhen-based Longshi Group, a real estate developer that focuses on high-end residential projects. The couple has an eight-year-old daughter named Xiaoxi Liu, born in 2011 after five years of marriage.

Richard Liu’s net worth also increased significantly when he sold his mobile messaging app, Laiwang, to JD.com in 2014. According to Liu, before this acquisition by JD.com, the messaging app had about 10 million users and 200 staff members. Even though he sold his company to his eCommerce empire, Liu still works as the chief executive officer (CEO) of Laiwang post-acquisition.

 

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