Article Title: Richard Liu Qiangdong: From Failure To Success
Oddly enough, it’s unclear when Richard Liu Qiangdong was born. Some say his birthday is on March 10 while others think it might be on February 14. If that wasn’t curious enough, people are also unsure what year he was born; the difference being one full year apart.
In any case, what people do agree on is Richard Liu’s brilliance for business. Though it seems like he’s always been business savvy, his original career choice involved politics. For much of his childhood, he wanted to pursue a career in politics. He even attended the People’s University of China, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology.
It wasn’t long after earning his sociology degree that he discovered politics didn’t present any lucrative careers. He found himself suddenly in need of money, as his grandmother fell ill and his family couldn’t afford her treatment. Using the computer programming skills he sharpened throughout school, he worked as freelance programmer to help his family.
Freelance work also left him with enough money to dabble in entrepreneurship. With his extra money combined with some family loans, Richard Liu opened small restaurant. While running the restaurant, he continued freelance work and enrolled at the China Europe International Business School.
Overwhelmed by work and school, he could only pay attention to the restaurant two or fewer hours a week, leading to the restaurant’s failure. Not diverted by his failure, Liu Qiangdong completed business school, earning an EMBA and took a job at a health product company until he was ready to try entrepreneurship again.
In 1998, Richard Liu opened the first of 12 “Jingdong” stores in Zhongguancun High-tech Industrial Park in a populated neighborhood in Beijing. His first store was four square meters and only sold magneto-optical products.
When the 2003 SARS outbreak forced him to rethink his business platform, he decided to move everything online. In 2004, JD.com was born and had a much larger inventory. Today, JD.com sells billions of products to 300 million customers.
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