Richard Liu Qiangdong is the Chief Executive Officer and founder of JD.com, one of the largest e-commerce platforms that China has to offer. The company was launched in 2004 and is currently worth $60 billion, has 500 logistics centers, and 167,000 employees (30,000 being added in 2017). Forbes reported that Liu has a net worth of $11 billion, making him one of the wealthiest persons in China.
Richard Liu attended this year’s World Economic Forum Annual Meeting, and during an interview he talked about his journey that transformed the retail industry via supply chain innovation. Prior to venturing into the world of retail he owned a restaurant, opening his own business due to the fact that he did not have the money necessary to go abroad. His first time in retail was in 1998 when he opened a 4 square meter store form where he was selling computer accessories. His business grew and he ended up opening 12 physical stores.
When the SARS epidemic hit, due to the fact that his staff and customers were forced to stay at home, Liu closed all of his stores by the end of 2004 and out of necessity he started retailing online. He recognized the fact that the logistics costs were lower, and that e-commerce was a trend for the future. Additionally, he observed the fact that back when he was starting into retail in 1998, the online market was chaotic, and in order to make JD.com a serious business he decided not to sell any counterfeit products, provide receipts, and offer a good experience to customers.
Initially, the company had a limited amount of cash, starting out by selling IT products and mobile phones, and adding new products every year. Currently, their most popular products are fashion items, foods, and consumer goods. When it comes to delivery, it could take as little as 3 hours for products to get delivered in Beijing. 57% of orders in China get delivered within 6 hours, with 97%of orders arriving within 10 hours. JD.com delivers around the world, and it could take 10 to 15 days for items to arrive in Washington.
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