Jingdong’s Transformation into China’s Largest Retailer
Jingdong, founded by Richard Liu Qiangdong, began as a tiny four-square-meter store in Beijing. Initially, Jingdong only sold magneto-optical products. By 2003, Richard Liu owned and operated 12 locations in several major urban areas of China’s major cities. Unfortunately, 2003 ended with a devastating SARS outbreak that forced many businesses to close.
Never one to quit, Richard Liu reopened his business online. The newly named JD.com soon became one of China’s largest e-commerce platforms, competing with top companies like Alibaba. Today, JD.com sells trillions of technological, fashion, homeware, and food products. One of the biggest trends in JD’s food category is exotic, imported fruits from New Zealand.
Many of JD’s customers are younger, middle-class professionals too busy to shop in store. As younger people are more focused on health, wellness, and nutrition, healthy fruits like kiwi and smaller apples have become best sellers. As imported foods grow in demand; so does locally grown foods.
To boost China’s local markets, JD launched a program that aimed to reinvent chicken farms. In 2016, they established a 27-hectare free-range chicken farm in Wuyi County, in Hebei province, one of the poorest regions in the country. Today, JD offers interest-free loans to more than 500 families that earn thousands of RMB every year.
In a way, Richard Liu is doing what he set out to do all those years ago when he moved to the big city. When he was younger, he wanted a job in politics so that he could make things better for people living like he and his family used to. He decided against joining politics after learning how much he could make owning his business.
His parents owned their own business, but their little shipping company didn’t make much. Today, Richard Liu’s company is making billions of dollars a year, and Richard Liu has a net worth of over $11 billion, according to Forbes. Still, he found a way to combine his love of business with a desire to help those less fortunate.