2019 looks like a very good year already for JD.com, or at least that’s what all indicators from their recently released financial reports have pointed towards. The company had a few setbacks in 2018, and earlier this year one of their IT executives had announced his retirement from the board. But even as President Trump ramped up his rhetoric on China and the ongoing trade crisis they and the US are facing, Liu Qiangdong’s company showed many good signs as their reported quarterly revenue passed its projections bringing in 120 billion in yuan, which is about $18 billion USD. The company also reported their shares were up as well on the NASDAQ exchange trading at 33 cents per share, and Liu attributed the current opening success to the company’s commitment to big tech investments, and also the growth in active user accounts on the e-commerce platform which was up 15℅ from last year to 310 million this year. But also spurring excitement for the company was a new deal with Tencent Holdings which boosted their capital and also included a new integration with WeChat and Weixin, two of Tencent’s key communication platforms. Tencent has been bolstering JD in effort to keep them in stiff competition with rival e-commerce company Alibaba.
JD has become quite a force when it’s come to big tech meeting e-commerce, and they’ve been doing for China what Jeff Bezos has been doing for the US with Amazon. It started with a local store chain that Liu Qiangdong, better known as Richard Liu owned and decided to change in finding a solution to a crisis. Liu grew up in a business oriented family with his parents running a shipping company, and he himself decided to start his first business when he was attending college at Renmin University. He was studying both political science and computer science, but he wanted to try running a restaurant on the side. Liu failed in this endeavor, but he hoped once again to have another opportunity to launch a business. He spent two years as a programmer and team director for Japan Life, and then in 1998 the opportunity to go into business once again presented itself.
Liu was working in an industrial tech park area of Beijing when he noticed a market demand for computer hardware, most notably magneto optical drives. He and his then girlfriend made an investment in the hardware and began selling it, and this time Liu’s business efforts paid off. Before long he was running a computer electronics retail chain and had opened up several stores. The original name of the business was JingDong, a name that combined Liu’s last name and that of his then girlfriend’s, and it became a branded term. Though the business was doing quite well for the first five years, the SARS epidemic struck in 2003, and as stores had to close, Liu decided he needed to change his business model so that business could continue during those times. So he opened up the store online and started focusing on sales in that space, and before he knew it the business emerged even stronger than it had been in brick and mortar stores. He renamed it from JingDong to his new website, JD.com, the name it still holds today.
Richard Liu took the business from computer electronics to including a wide array of consumer goods, and soon he even had his own delivery system incorporated. Liu first sold a part of the company’s shares to Tencent Holdings in 2010, and in 2015 he took it completely public and had it traded on the NASDAQ. Drone delivery has been what the company has been most known for, but they’ve also started partnering with local stores to bring robotic shopping carts. JD.com is also backed by Walmart, and Liu has said he’d like to invest more in the US customer base, but he has put some of those goals on hold until tensions between the US and China ease up.