Richard Liu’s strategic leadership at JD.com
JD.com is Asia’s largest online retailer, both by size and revenue. The company traces its history to 1998 when its founder, Richard Liu, established it from the then brick-and-mortar store based in Beijing. The founder, Liu Quingdong, was born in 1973 in Jiangsu province in China and attended the Renmin University of China. Graduating with a degree in Sociology, he proceeded to undertake his advanced education in Master of Business Administration from the China Europe International Business School.
Growing up in China after that, Richard Liu experienced the greatest economic reforms in the country that led to explosive growth in demand for innovative businesses, especially among the youth. With this inspiration, in 1998, he opened what was then a four square-meter brick-and-mortar store where he was selling computer accessories. His business gradually grew to dominate the market around Beijing.
Liu particularly emphasized in exemplary customer service and providing high-quality products, something that propelled him to become the owner of one of the few tech hubs in the area. His innovative concept earned him a great reputation which translated to significant growth in his business, which he later advanced to other towns, including Shanghai and Shenzhen, where he operated a total of about 12 stores.
His early life in business was not without significant challenges, especially in 2003, when the SARS epidemic hit China, forcing many businesses to experience unprecedented closure. It was at this time, owing to the daunting challenges of running a brick-and-mortar store amidst the SARS epidemic, that Richard Lui thought of establishing an online store, JD.com, to minimize human interaction and eliminate the risk of spreading the SARS virus.
Since establishment, JD.com focused on similar qualities that the brick-and-mortar business was founded on, including ensuring high-quality products and great customer service. The business’s early success was also attributable to the great logistics and competent leadership of its founder, Liu Quingdong. To attract a broad market, JD emphasized on reaching out to more people by becoming a one-stop online market store and vending multiple products.
With heavy investments in the latest technologies and customer service models that facilitate quick fulfillment of orders, JD has grown to become Asia’s largest online retailer in volume and profits. Its fulfillment infrastructure in the e-commerce business makes it one of the largest in the world, operating networks of warehouses and logistic centers that cover up to 12 million square meters of area. The company is still growing and is working on partnering with local online retailers in the Southeast Asia region while also contemplating undertaking mergers and acquisitions as a way of achieving deep penetration in the market.
According to Richard Liu’s projection, JD is expecting to expand to South East Asia before gradually expanding into the Middle East, the United States, and Europe. The ambitious plan is targeted at providing competent supply chain processes that will facilitate business-to-business and business-to-customer operations as far as product logistics is concerned. Currently, the company has teamed up with US-based e-commerce companies, such as Walmart, in the bid to establish affiliates that will see the two e-commerce giants, Walmart and JD, facilitate the fulfillment of cross-continent e-commerce logistics.
As part of his marketing strategy, Lui focuses on establishing multiple warehouses across Europe as part of his goal to initiate the successful penetration of the company into the Western Europe market. The success of JD’s investment in the competitive e-commerce industry is owed to Richard Liu’s visionary leadership that primarily focuses on investing in strategic expansion, provision of high-quality products, and facilitation of great customer service as backed by quick order fulfillment.