JD founder Richard Liu cash out nearly US$1 billion from e-commerce giant
Richard Liu, the founder of China’s e-commerce platform JD.com, has cashed out nearly US$1 billion from the company he founded in 1998 since stepping down from the frontline management position in April, prompting speculation over what he may do with the proceeds.
Richard Liu has an estimated fortune worth $13.9 billion on the Forbes Real-Time Billionaires List today. He has already sold Nasdaq-listed JD.com stock and Hong Kong-listed JD Health shares worth a combined US$988 million since April, according to exchange filings.
Apart from the recent stock sale, Liu is also set to receive a first cash dividend of US$272.8 million from JD since the company going public on the Nasdaq in 2014. Meanwhile, Liu is facing a civil lawsuit in the United States over the alleged rape of a 21-year-old Chinese student at University of Minnesota in the autumn of 2018.
Liu’s move has triggered speculation over the reasons for the sale because the Chinese billionaire has previously been reluctant to cut his stake in JD.com.
“I will sell all my shares in JD if I lose control of the company,” Liu said in a public speech.
Liu joined a raft of Chinese tech billionaires who have recently stepped down from top positions or lay low amid Beijing’s regulatory clampdown on the sector.
Pinduoduo’s billionaire founder Colin Huang stepped down as chairman in March after donating a 2.37% stake worth USD1.85 billion to his charity foundation.
In May 20, Zhang Yi Ming announced his resignation to the company via an internal letter. In June 2021, Wang Xing, the founder of local services and food delivery giant Meituan has donated 10% of his Meituan shares worth about USD2.3 billion to his own philanthropic foundation.
JD.com reported a 3 billion yuan ($444 million) in losses for the first quarter of 2022, as the resurgence of Covid-19 in the world’s second-largest economy since March has forced the government to implement lockdowns that weighted on logistic and consumer spending.
In addition, JD has reported the slowest growth in sales in the country’s mid-year shopping festival amid a recent Covid-19 outbreak.