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Richard Liu is the founder, chairman, and CEO of JD.com. Today, Liu is worth over $12.7 billion, but he has not always lived a charmed life. Liu’s family was wealthy before communism took over China, but they were reduced to poor farmers by the time he was born in the 1970s. Liu Qiangdong grew up in Chang’an, a village near the eastern seaboard of China, where he faced poverty and food insecurity.

Richard Liu worked hard in school to improve his lot in life. He was accepted to the prestigious People’s University of China, where he studied sociology in hopes of becoming a politician. Liu learned programming in his spare time between studying and working at a local business. Programming soon became more than a hobby, and Liu got highly paid work writing computer programs. He used his earnings to buy his own computer and support his family back in the village where he grew up.

Liu saved up a small sum of money and used it to open a stall selling optical disks in a bazaar. The 2003 SARS epidemic prompted Liu to begin selling his products on the internet. He found success with e-commerce and went on to launch JD.com in 2004. He was obsessive about customer satisfaction, answering customer inquiries himself at all hours of the night. This hard work and dedication grew the company into an e-commerce juggernaut.

In 2007, Liu steered JD.com into the logistics business to ensure that products got to customers quickly and efficiently. JD.com has grown even more since then, taking in $82.9 billion in revenue in 2019. Liu’s hard work and business savvy have earned him much recognition, including as China Economic Person of the Year in 2011 and one of Forbes China’s 2012 Chinese Businessmen.

Learn more about Liu: https://corporate.jd.com/richard-liu-jd-ceo-about