Richard Liu Qiangdong attended 2018’s World Economic Forum Annual Meeting, and talked about his journey that changed the landscape of the retail industry through supply chain innovation. From a restaurateur to an important figure within the world of retail, the founder and Chief Executive Officer of JD.com is one of the wealthiest men in China, having a net worth of $11 billion, according to Forbes.
Richard Liu started his business in 1998, selling computer accessories out of a 4 square meter store in Beijing. His business expanded and by 2003 he had 12 physical stores, but due to the SARS outbreak and having both his staff and his customer house-bound, his business was at risk. He ended up closing all 12 stores by the end of 2004, and out of necessity he started retailing online, thus creating JD.com. Despite the fact that he thought in 1998 that the online market was chaotic, once he started doing business online he realized that the logistics costs were lower and recognized the fact that e-commerce was the trend for the future.
In order to prove that he is serious about his business, Richard Liu Qiangdong decided to not sell any counterfeit products on his platform, he provided receipts and wanted to provide a good experience to customers, in order to make his company more unique. Due to the limited amount of money, the platform only sold IT products and mobile phone initially, but added new products every year. Nowadays, the platform has a market value of $60 billion, and in 2017 they added 30,000 new employees, for a total of 167,000. Richard Liu considers that the largest e-commerce platform in China will also be the biggest in the world.
The company has 500 logistics centers and can deliver products in as little as 3 hours in Beijing. Their most popular products are consumer goods, foods and fashion items. 57% of orders are delivered within 6 hours in China, 97% of them arriving in 10 hours. The company also delivers around the world, and it could take 10 to 15 days for products to get to Washington.