How The Internet Saved Richard Liu Quiangdong’ s Business

Every entrepreneur faces a watershed moment, where one decision may make or break an empire. For Richard Liu Quiangdong, the founder of, his moment of truth came in 2002 in the aftermath of a fatal SARS virus outbreak. At the time, Richard Liu was doing good business, with 12 physical stores stationed in Beijing. The SARS epidemic crippled physical interaction, which meant that his employees and customers would not interact without the high risk of catching virus. Consequently, Richard Liu wrapped up all his stores and shut down operations to protect his customers and employees from the lethargic SARS virus.

Not one to let up easily, Richard Liu called a crisis meeting and bounced off ideas on how to get back to business. Resultantly, the idea to take the business online was born, and Richard Liu fully embraced the idea and saw it to fruition. This marked the birth of, and since then, the E-commerce company has registered an upward trend in growth commanding a market value of $57.6 billion according to Forbes.

The success of has attracted equally affluent shareholders such as Walmart who hold a 12 percent stake and Tencent who own 15 percent of Richard Liu is also among the richest people in China , with a reported net worth of $11 billion.

According to Richard Liu, he was lucky to recognize at an early time, that the future of business was online. Additionally, he appreciated and encouraged innovativeness at, and this has steered the popular retailer to international status. Richard Liu Quiangdong would matriculate at Renmin University of China where he graduated in 1996 with a sociology degree.

His choice to study Sociology was inspired by his inclination to politics. He, however, would switch to programming after realizing he would not get paid enough in the latter profession. Richard Liu took up several coding jobs which allowed him to pursue an EMBA at the China Europe International Business School. He took up several jobs, including working as the head of computers and head of business at Japan Life, before he started a magneto-optics selling store, which eventually became

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