Richard Liu Qiangdong – From Rags to Riches

Richard Liu Qiangdong is a Chinese billionaire with one of the largest e-commerce businesses in the world. He built his business, JD.com, from scratch to become a global leader in the world of internet retail. With millions of products available at the click of a button, www.JD.com has an innovative and progressive business model that helped it become the giant it is today.

Things, however, were not always easy for Liu Qiangdong growing up. His parents had a coal shipping business which didn’t do too well. Finding how the family business was not even able to provide for medical expenses of his grandmother, Richard Liu decided to enrol at the Renmin University of China and gain higher education. He graduated with a degree in sociology, while learning computer programming and developing software. He later earned an EMBA from the China Europe International Business School. After working for a health firm for years, Richard Liu set-up his own business in 1998. His shop sold computer accessories and soon he had 12 stores. It was a seemingly unfortunate turn of events that actually proved critically important for Liu Qiangdong. An outbreak of the SARS epidemic meant that Liu Qiangdong had to close his physical stores. This led to the idea of an online retail outlet and www.JD.com was born.

Under Richard Liu’s leadership JD has grown through the years. Each year the company has added hundreds of thousands of new products. Its closest rival Walmart does not have the variety that JD has. So JD offers its customers with increased choice. Their vast network of warehouses means that they store a huge proportion of their products in locations throughout China, so delivery anywhere within China takes a maximum of just six hours. The express delivery along with nearly unlimited choice makes it really stand out as an e-commerce firm.

On the cost side, Richard Liu’s vision is to reduced turnover from their current 34 days to even less. Which means right now, JD warehouses retain a product for a maximum of 34 days. Richard Liu Qiangdong is truly a businessman with a lot of foresight and the drive to expand and grow. He has been able to use challenges he faced in his favour and build an empire out of nothing in doing so.

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