Richard Liu founded JD.com in 2004, and today, JD.com is the largest e-commerce company in China. He was born in a relatively impoverished region of China despite his parents owning their own business. Before choosing a career in business, Richard Liu pursued a career in politics. He even enrolled at the People’s University of China, which is known for its elite political connections.
While earning a degree in sociology, he realized that a political career wouldn’t earn him much money. Around the same time, his grandmother fell ill and his family struggled to afford her treatment. To earn extra money on the side, Richard Liu sharpened his computer programming skills and started working as a freelance coder.
In 1996, he graduated from the People’s University and enrolled at the China Europe International Business School with the goal of earning an EMBA. He continued working as a freelance coder well after paying for his grandmother’s treatment and even earned enough money to buy a small restaurant.
The restaurant was his first attempt at owning his own business, but he did not yet have the necessary focus and dedication to succeed. Because he only devoted two hours a week to the restaurant, the business went belly up fairly quickly, and Richard Liu learned that it would take more than money to make a business successful.
He would not try to open his own business again until 1998. After working at Japan Life, a health products company, for two years, Richard Liu began launching a series of brick-and-mortar stores that only sold magneto-optical products. He named his new business Jingdong, a name he created by combining part of his name with that of his then-girlfriend’s name.
Eventually, Richard Liu opened 12 Jingdong locations throughout Beijing. In 2003, the SARS outbreak presented a challenge that many companies could not overcome. As SARS made face-to-fact contact dangerous, Richard Liu moved Jingdong online and rebranded the company: JD.com. Today, JD.com sells billions of products to customers all over the world.
Learn More: www.jd.id/richard-liu-jd-ceo-about