Founded as an ecommerce platform in 2004 by CEO Richard Liu Qiangdong, JD.com has grown to be hailed as China’s largest online retailer, its biggest overall retailer, and the country’s biggest internet company by revenue.
Following the success of Jingdong – a string of modest electronics stores in and around Beijing started by Liu in the late ‘90s, specializing in selling magneto-optical equipment – the entrepreneur took to the growing world of ecommerce. Just as the SARS virus threatened to keep China’s residents in their homes as businesses suffered in 2003, Liu launched JD.com – the expansion of his original vision – selling electronics, mobile phones, computers and other tech gadgets online. The company has grown to be the global leader in high tech and AI delivery through research and development in drones, autonomous technology and robots, while possessing the largest drone delivery systems, infrastructures and capabilities in the world.
JD’s success is a direct product of its commitment to authenticity and quality in servicing China’s population while the country has overgone vast transformations into a technology-driven, consumption-based economy. In a country rampant with fake goods, JD’s promise for transparency and authenticity in its product selection gave rise to early success, while the speed and accuracy of delivery remains unmatched. Similar to Amazon, JD takes possession of its inventories and fulfills orders with a first-party logistics network in-house, allowing the company to filter out questionable merchants and products while ensuring that orders are quickly fulfilled. Using this model, JD’s unrivalled nationwide fulfillment network promises standard same- and next-day delivery to China’s population of more than 1 billion citizens – a dedicated promise to service and speed that has remained unmatched globally across the industry. On this promise, JD reportedly touches more than 99% of the country’s population while boasting delivery of more than 90% of its orders in one day or less. To ensure quality, JD.com has adopted a no-tolerance approach to counterfeits, a mark of excellence now synonymous with JD’s good name.
A highly sought partner for brands looking to reach Chinese consumers, JD’s reach through marketing initiatives, data-driven analytics, financing, and in-house logistics and warehousing lead the nation, and strategic partnerships are helping to increase JD’s reach outside of China. Liu teamed with global leader Walmart as JD bought the American company’s online operations in China for a return stake in JD.com. The Arkansas-based company also co-led a series of $500 million fundraising efforts for JD to connect a fleet of delivery staff with new merchants throughout hundreds of Chinese towns. In June 2018, U.S. tech giant Google announced it would invest $550 million in cash into JD.com, part of another strategic alliance that would see the two titans working together developing better retail infrastructure in global markets. For its part, JD.com said it planned to release a selection of items for sale in places like the U.S. and Europe onto Google Shopping – a platform that allows users compare products on e-comm sites to evaluate different pricing. Additionally, JD also enjoys the backing of Tencent, another major Chinese player offering integration into its vast network of gaming, digital payments and social networks. As the operator overseeing WeChat – China’s largest social messaging platform – Tencent’s partnership with JD.com allows the e-comm player to sell directly to WeChat’s base through the app.
Since its meteoric rise, JD.com has built the infrastructure needed in China to set the global standard for delivery, and Liu’s model is transforming the logistics industry. In championing drone and automated technologies used for delivery, JD has essentially opened up the country in places where the infrastructure had yet to catch up to the major cities in Chinese hubs. Revolutionizing the way that people buy and receive products was the result of proprietary technologies and the introduction of new facilities to combat demand. In 2017, JD Logistics opened the world’s first fully automated B2C warehouse in Shanghai, reportedly able to process 200,000 items a day at full operation. For their fleet of vehicles, JD utilizes electric vehicles, entering into an agreement last year with SAIC Maxus and Dongfeng Motor Corp. to develop autonomous delivery vehicles for allocating goods from distribution centers to delivery stations. Additionally, the company began testing autonomous delivery using robots last summer. Made to deliver goods to a designated location as customers receive a unique PIN to retrieve their packages, autonomous robots are another small piece of the puzzle in JD’s thrust toward industry-leading technology.
Working alongside industry titans, JD will continue its path toward global markets, enhancing their own brand of smart logistics solutions, pushing the boundaries of traditional models while connecting the world with the speed and quality for which Richard Liu’s JD has always been known.
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