Richard Liu – Thoughts of an Entrepreneur

Richard Liu is an entrepreneur who has made a huge success of his company. He started the company in 1999, and today it has grown to be one of China’s leading online retailers with more than 190 million customers across its three main sites. The company had its origins in Beijing, around the same time as Amazon was being established across the world. When Amazon went public and became a publicly-traded company, Liu decided he wanted to do the same thing.

To understand how we arrived at this stage today, it is worth going back and looking at Richard Liu’s story from when he first started out. This is what he said in an interview with the Financial Times about his life, and it has certainly come a long way since those first days of selling electronics from a shop front.

It was only after Liu’s father became seriously ill that he decided to leave the village and move to Beijing. This was a bold decision, as this was going against all of what his family had planned for him. The expectation had been that he would stay in the village until he got married at around 20 years old.

So why did Liu decide to strike out on his own? It turns out it was to provide for his family.

“I moved to Beijing so I could earn money and send it back to help my parents.”

There was no way Liu Qiangdong wanted his father’s illness to mean that the family became poor, so he knew he had to do what he could to help. He was just 12 years old when he arrived in Beijing, and he had to work hard times to survive.

So with only primary school education, Liu started to sell electronics from a shop front. To do this, he would buy products from wholesalers and then sell them on for a small markup. It was only after two years of doing this that Liu had saved enough money to send back home to his father.’

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