Richard Liu is the founder, CEO, and Chairman of the biggest retailer in China known as JD.com. He built this company from scratch and one of the most successful companies in the world today. He is currently actively involved in its day to day operations. In an interview at the World Economic Annual Meeting, he talked a lot about his business. He started by pointing out that he was pleased with the interview because it offered him a chance to meet with his partners. JD.com was launched in 2004 although he had come up with the plan in 1998. The name JD.com is derived from the name of Richard Liu and his first girlfriend. They joined their names to come up with the name. They took the last of his girlfriend and his first name.
While growing up, Richard Liu had the opportunity of working in a small transport company owned by his parents. He attended college in Beijing. In college, he started a restaurant, meaning that he had dreams of becoming a businessman from an early stage. The business did not do well since it failed after a short time. He feels that the business failed because he could not manage his time between classes and the business. He only had two hours in a week to run the operations of the business.
Later, he started another company that had physical stores and idea that he believes was inspired by some of the challenges he underwent through. His parents’ transport business was not doing well, and his grandmother who had supported his education was sick but with no money to seek medical care. He was also motivated to start the business because he could not afford to go abroad for further studies as other students did. This business involved selling computer accessories. The business later ran into challenges, forcing Liu and the management to close the stores while thinking of the steps to take. It is at this time that one of the managers, who is now a billionaire now, thought that selling products online would be a great idea.
At the end of 2004, they closed the physical stores and embarked on selling online. They also compared the costs and logistics of selling online versus offline and discovered that the cost of online business was low. Richard Liu realized that the online business was efficient and offered customers’ convenience. At this point, he felt that e-commerce would be the future of business. By the time he was starting his business, Amazon was not known to him, but there was another e-commerce company in China.
To make it in the online business, Richard Liu decided that his company would do things differently. Many companies that were in e-commerce before him were engaging in a lot of business malpractices such as selling fake items to customers affecting the reputation of the business. So, when he decided to do e-commerce, he was ready to do business with new rules. He pledged that he would not engage in counterfeits and price cheating. He introduced proper invoices and receipts to customers as well as putting in place an effective customer care services department.
In 2004, the business majored mainly with digital and IT products such as mobile phones since they were limited by the capital they had. However, by 2010, the company had almost everything that was in the market. JD.com currently has a market valuation of about $60 billion and employs over 67,000 workers. The company has been adding a huge number of workers in recent times. According to Richard Liu, the company added over 30,000 workers in the past year.