Richard Liu Qiandong and the Road to Jingdong

1998 marked the beginning of Richard Liu Qiandong’s entrepreneurial career, launching his first physical retail store in Beijing. Over the course of the next few years, the company, which would eventually evolve into JD.com, began an unprecedented run of rapid expansion, opening 12 brick-and-mortar locations before transitioning to online retail. Today, JD.com, or Jingdong, is one of the most powerful and influential companies in the world and is hailed as the largest e-commerce platform in China. With a market value of $60 billion, JD.com continues rapid ascension, garnering support from a number of well-established entities, including two of its primary competitors, Amazon and Walmart.

Richard Liu Qiandong’s story began in the small town of Suqian, located in China’s Jiangsu province. As a youth, he assisted his parents, who worked in the coal-shipping industry, while also excelling at his classwork and outside activities. He attended the People’s University of China, where, despite majoring in sociology, dedicated his time to a number of areas, including computer coding and entrepreneurship. Richard Liu Qiandong’s initial attempt at entrepreneurship occurred with the opening of his first restaurant, which ultimately failed. Undeterred, he decided to take a position with Japan Life upon graduation, utilizing his computer coding skills to move up within the company. After several years, he decided to revisit his entrepreneurial aspirations, renting a space in a tech hub located in Beijing.

Utilizing a mixture of sweat-equity and innovation, his business quickly took off, expanding into twelve locations. After a number of successful years, the SARS epidemic swept through China, causing a complete restructure of the retail model due to the limited access between customers and providers. This tragedy prompted Richard Liu Qiandong to consider the e-commerce format, and in 2004, JD.com was officially born. With limited cash available, JD.com initially provided IT products, slowly making the transition into a vaster supply chain. By 2010, JD.com had expanded into each sector, with its most profitable products being fashion and home appliances. At 44 years of age, Richard Liu Qiandong hopes to leave a significant legacy behind – one that emphasizes his strengths as a father, husband, son, boss, and partner.