Richard Liu Qiangdong Opens Up about

The story behind massive internet companies is usually filled with trial and errors. Rarely, does a founder get everything right the first time; yet, that’s exactly what Richard Liu Qiangdong did when he founded To be fair, Richard Liu Qiangdong wasn’t always a success.

Firstly, he was born into an extremely poor family as he puts it. Though his parents owned their own business; they only shipped coal from one end of China to the other. No one in his family had money, so he set his sights on politics. It wasn’t until he started writing code and working freelance jobs that he saw the potential of a career in business.

After failing to successfully own and operate a restaurant and landing himself in debt, he took a job at a health products company, where he spent two years earning real-world experience. In 1988, he walked away from working for other people and opened his own business, giving entrepreneurship another shot.

This time around, he found success selling magneto-optical products out of a four-square-meter shop in Beijing’s Industrial-tech Park. By 2003, Richard Liu Qiangdong owned 12 Jingdong locations around the city. He named his company Jingdong after his then-girlfriend.

As it looked like Jingdong was going to become a Chinese Wal-Mart of sorts, China faced a devastating SARS outbreak. Not only were lives lost, but SARS forced many brick-and-mortar stores to close their doors. To avoid getting sick, Chinese people began living more homebound lives. Though the customer behavior killed many other companies, Richard Liu Qiangdong saw it as an opportunity to move his business online.

That move would change his life and turn him into a billionaire. The newly named hit the internet in 2004 and quickly became one of China’s most successful e-commerce platforms. As the company grew in popularity, he added more products. Today, sells billions of different kinds of products to the site’s more than 300 million customers.

Richard Liu Qiangdong, himself, is worth an estimated $12 billion.

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