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JD.com Founder Liu’s Wealth Surges to $6.1 Billion on IPO

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JD.com Inc. Founder and CEO Richard Liu
JD.com Inc. Founder and Chief Executive Officer Richard Liu attends a forum at Tsinghua University in Beijing, China, on March 23, 2013. Photographer: Imaginechina

May 23 (Bloomberg) -- Richard Liu, chief executive officer of JD.com Inc., China’s second-largest e-commerce site, ended the day of the company’s debut with a net worth of $6.1 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

JD.com’s initial public offering was the biggest ever for a Chinese Internet company in the U.S., according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The Beijing-based company sells products such as home appliances, books and clothes to more than 47 million customers. It uses a business model similar to billionaire Jeff Bezos’s Amazon.com, managing inventory and selling directly to consumers.

Backed by Tencent Holdings Ltd., Asia’s largest Internet company, and Russian billionaire Yuri Milner’s DST Global, JD.com closed at $20.90 in New York yesterday, 10 percent higher than its $19 offering price. The founder, also known as Liu Qiangdong, holds about 556 million shares after selling 13.9 million shares in the IPO.

“Liu comes from a normal background but is a very aggressive person,” Li Yujie, a Hong Kong-based analyst at RHB Research Institute Sdn., said in a phone interview. “JD.com stands to benefit from its cooperation with Tencent, especially now that Tencent has injected all its e-commerce business and will help it develop.”

No Amazon

Liu, 41, founded the business in 2004 after distributing magneto-optical products in Beijing, according to the company’s prospectus. He has a bachelor’s degree in sociology from the People’s University of China in Beijing, as well as an executive MBA degree from the China Europe International Business School.

“I neither wish to become Amazon nor Dangdang,” Liu said in a speech at the People’s University last month, referring to another Chinese e-commerce website. “Copying business models of any other companies is doomed to fail. JD is always JD.”

The idea of steering shoppers online came after the SARS pandemic hit parts of China in 2003, when Liu was forced to close down his magneto-optical stores.

The company declined to comment on his net worth.

JD.com operates 86 warehouses, 1,620 delivery stations and 214 pickup stations across China as of March, according to the filing. It has a dual-class share structure where Liu must be present for key decisions. With 84 percent of voting power after the offering, he could effectively veto any proposal.

Chinese IPOs

U.S. investors snapped up almost $1 billion in Chinese IPOs last year, a fivefold increase from 2012, data compiled by Bloomberg show. JD.com said on its website it’s China’s largest online direct sales company in terms of transaction volume last year, with a 46.5 percent share of the market in the country.

JD.com’s filing came after competitor Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. filed this month for a U.S. IPO in a sale that could raise about $20 billion.

To contact Bloomberg News staff for this story: Bonnie Cao in Shanghai at bcao4@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Peter Newcomb at pnewcomb2@bloomberg.net Linus Chua

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