Richard Liu is a force for change, and now Liu Qiangdong is busy changing the fashion world. He started Alibaba, China’s most-visited commerce site, back in 1999 and has since transformed it into a $260 billion e-commerce giant. Today he headlines China’s biggest brands, including Alibaba (ranked #5 on Forbes’ 2018 list of the World’s Biggest Public Companies), his retail chain Taobao, and online women’s retailer JD.com. His Zhou dynasty-inspired menswear line Liu Jo is growing in popularity across China and overseas.
Liu Qiangdong is ranked #28 on the Forbes 2018 China Rich List, placing him in the top 0.1% of high net worth individuals in China. The list is based on a ranking of Chinese billionaires and their net worths, published annually by Forbes. Liu Qiangdong’s estimated net worth is US $11.5 billion as of December 2017 – an increase of US $2.5 billion since January 2017 – making him one of China’s wealthiest individuals and the wealthiest person in all e-commerce, according to Forbes.
Education, career, and other achievements
Liu Qiangdong was born in Beijing, China, on February 7, 1975. He graduated from Beijing Jiaotong University with a major in computer science. Liu Qiangdong became one of the first employees at Kingsoft, the largest China-based software company. In 1999, he founded the online commerce firm Alibaba and currently serves as its board of directors chairman.
Just two years after founding Alibaba, he established Taobao Marketplace, which became one of China’s biggest e-commerce sites within three years. In 2003, Taobao had become the country’s largest e-commerce site, with a total value of sales exceeding US $1 billion, according to Euromonitor International. Taobao was sold to Alibaba in December 2005 for US $50 million plus a 40% stake in the company.
His personal life
Liu Qiangdong married Zhang Zetian in 2011. She is often referred to as “Sister Ping” or “Penny” due to her estimated net worth of US $14.5 billion, placing her #1 on Forbes’ list of China’s richest self-made women. The couple has two sons, born in 2012 and 2014, respectively. Their first son was born in the United States while studying at Harvard Business School (HBS). They met at HBS and were classmates in the HBS-China Entrepreneurship Program. See related link to learn more.
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