China has watched as its burgeoning tech industry has turned into a national leader in economic production. Among the tech giants currently innovating the sector is Liu Qiangdong, founder and CEO of one of the largest e-commerce platforms around, JD.com Already a billionaire, Liu Qiangdong was motivated by President Xi Jinping’s decision to try and bridge the gap between the wealthiest individuals in the nation and everyone else.
Let’s dive deeper into the numbers to explore Liu Qiangdong’s stunning donation, common prosperity, and the future (and past) of JD.com.
Bringing Common Prosperity to the People
As one of China’s wealthiest e-commerce entrepreneurs, Mr. Richard Qiangdong Liu promised to donate more than $2.34 billion to undisclosed charities throughout the nation. The move came at a time when China has been focusing on equalizing some of the wealth disparity between the nation’s wealthiest and the rest of the individuals within it. Liu will be donating more than 62.4 million Class B Ordinary JD.com shares, as disclosed recently in a company filing. The document did not specify which third-party foundation would be receiving the donations.
With a fortune worth north of $15.9 billion, Liu’s decision to inform JD.com to begin donating shares was a major one, yet not one undertaken on his own. Liu was joined by rival Alibaba in coming under the sights of President Xi Jinping’s Common Prosperity Drive. As the world’s second-largest economy, the move hopes to energize many.
Liu was not the only notable figure in China’s tech sector to lend a hand to the movement. Liu was joined by Zhang Yiming, founder of ByteDance as well as the food delivery company Meituan. Zhang Yiming would pledge $78 million himself to the city of Longyan for the purposes of education. Meituan’s founder, Chief Executive Wang Xing, would promise $2.27 billion to his personal charity. Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun got in on the action as well, contributing more than $2 billion in shares toward social programs and needs.
A Long Road to Success
Long before Liu Qiangdong was the founder and CEO of JD.com, he was just another person growing up south of Beijing in the tiny village of Chang’an. Raised in abject poverty, Liu and his family would subsist on sweet potatoes and corn throughout the year, only occasionally getting to try pork on special occasions. After leaving his small town behind, Qiangdong would visit the city where he would come to find that buildings did get built larger than two stories.
After attending and graduating from the People’s University of China, Liu would begin working in the freshly growing field of e-commerce at a time when it still had not begun to grow into what it is today. Qiangdong founded his first company while eventually learning to code. His first stall would gain praise due to his refusal to sell counterfeit or poor-quality items, something that he adheres to at this time with JD.com.
Liu Qiangdong would use the SARS pandemic as a way to move into an entirely new field of work. Developing in 2007, Qiangdong would establish JD.com by utilizing a powerful logistics network. Due to this early innovation, JD.com is able to deliver 90% of its deliveries the same or very next day. This effort and industry innovation would lead JD.com to score more than 300 million active users.