Richard Liu Qiangdong, an influential Chinese businessman, is the founder and the CEO of a company known as Jingdong. Liu started the company two years after graduated with a degree in Sociology from a University in Beijing. JD.Com, as the company is popularly known has grown to become the largest e-commerce platform in China.
Richard Liu’s path to success wasn’t an easy one. Liu’s first restaurant business that he had established in his third year in college collapsed, leaving him with huge debts to pay. While in College, Richard Liu spent his spare time perfecting his programming skills. Despite undertaking a degree in Sociology, Liu landed his first employment at a Japanese firm where he served as a director for business and computers.
After working at Japan Life for two years, Liu Qiangdong decided to try his hand in entrepreneurship for the second time. In 1998, he opened a shop in Beijing that supplied original computer accessories. By 2003, Liu had opened twelve stores in Beijing.
Richard Liu’s turning point
Many businesses in China closed down when the SARS epidemic broke out at the end of 2003. Richard Liu’s stores were not spared either. His employees were forced to stay at home since it was too risky to move out to the public. On the other hand, Liu and his managers held several meeting to brainstorm on the way forward. In one of the meetings, one of the managers floated the idea of selling their products.
Richard Liu spent the next few months working on his online platform, now known as JD.com. He closed some of the stores to focus on marketing his products online. By the end of 2004, Liu realized that the online model was profitable and hence he decided to close down the remaining stores.
When Richard Liu launched his online platform, the Chinese market was filled with counterfeit products, which made it difficult for customers to get original items. Richard Liu Qiangdong focused on supplying original products, thus earning the trust of millions of customers in China. With time, Liu Qiangdong worked on improving customer service by ensuring that deliveries were done on time and customer complaints addressed promptly. Currently, JD.com is the largest online retailer with more than one billion products to chose from.