JD.com, also known simply as Jingdong, is known not only for being the largest online retailer in China, but also for its offline presence, positive initiatives in communities, and vast technological research and development advances. The company was founded by Richard Liu Qiangdong in 1998. Richard Liu, also known simply as Liu Qiangdong, graduated in from China’s Renmin University with a degree in sociology. He spent most of his time in school doing freelance coding work and honing this and other computer skills, before eventually gaining an EMBA from the China Europe International Business School. He was hired after graduation by Japan Life, a health product company. Richard Liu worked several roles during his two years at Japan Life, focusing on computers and business.
The company that he began in 1998 was a simple store in Beijing that sold magneto-optical products. Liu Qiangdong named his store by combining the last character of Qiangdong and the last character of the name of his girlfriend at the time. He grew the company to twelve stores by 2003, and only ventured into the online market after a strange turn of events. China had a nationwide outbreak of SARS that year, forcing customers and staff alike to remain in their own homes, for safety reasons. Rather than focusing on the threat that this posed to Jingdong, Liu Qiangdong instead realized the opportunity that e-commerce could offer his company.
JD.com came to fruition in 2004, while Richard Liu temporarily closed all of his brick-and-mortar stores; although, today, there are many offline locations. JD.com is now the largest online retailer in China. Looking back to the SARS outbreak and the closing of the physical locations in 2003, it may have been hard to imagine just how many people would benefit from jobs at Jingdong in the future – the company now has over 500 warehouses. A great part of JD.com’s success is owed to its proprietary logistics supply chain, which was set out from the beginning to ensure the most positive customer experience possible, from start to finish. Jingdong is now known for its Boundaryless Retail Strategy, ensuring that the company is consistently seeking ways to allow customers the option to buy whatever, whenever, and wherever they like.