It wasn’t the best quarter to close out 2018 for Chinese e-commerce powerhouse JD.com, though they did come through with one development that’s going to affect much of the financial industry moving forward. Using artificial intelligence, big data analytics, past financial information and a look at spending habits, they now have a program that can evaluate user credit and help government officials and financial institutions make important decisions based on a credit profile. The platform is less based on a number or rating and more a look at other spending patterns, and takes into account information about whether they own real estate or not. This program has been in addition to other advanced tech JD uses.
Liu Quingdong, the CEO of JD has been fairly happy with the start to 2019 for his company because revenue has actually beat the projected start of 120 billion Yuan at 121 billion Yuan according to statements released. The company’s shares on the NASDAQ were also up to nearly three times their projection at 33 cents per share. One of JD’s largest investors, private equity firm Tencent Holdings also renewed its committed capital to the company, a good sign for Liu of their confidence in him, and as part of this new commitment, JD will now have WeChat and Weixin on their platform.
Liu Quingdong also goes by Richard Liu, and he’s been the leader of JD.com since its founding in 1998. One thing that Liu has been good at is not letting failure define him and changing plans when his original plans haven’t worked out so well. As a young man studying at Renmin University, he had tried to enter the restaurant business, but he was unable to generate the interest he had hoped and ended up in debt after closing it. He paid off his debt after getting a job as a computer programming director at Japan Life for a couple years, but even while doing well there, he longed once more to start his own business. He would soon fulfill this endeavor.
Liu Quingdong began his next business selling magneto optical drives to high profile tech clients in Beijing’s industrial research park, but he expanded it into other electronic products. He named his new company Jingdong, and within a couple years he was making enough sales to open new stores. But then hard times came again when China got hit with SARS in 2003, and when once again faced with closing down, he had another idea. Liu decided to take Jingdong online and focus on sales there. Before long, revenue started growing like it never had before, and since it would now be officially an e-commerce company, Richard Liu renamed it JD.com, the name it has held to ever since.
Richard Liu not only made the company profitable because of its products themselves, but also because it’s been one of the first companies to use drones as a key logistics component. Not even JD’s main competitor Alibaba has invested in drones at the rate JD has, and the way that Liu has sought to differentiate JD from Alibaba in terms of approaching the market is one reason Tencent Holdings decided they wanted to buy a significant stake in the company. JD first became publicly traded in 2015, and Liu remained the majority shareholder until 2018. His next plan is to explore more of the North American market and build on partnerships he already has with a few US retailers, but he’s also hoping that President Trump will consider rethinking some of his trade policies since he says China buys a large quantity of US products.
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