Richard Liu, the founder of JD.com, has seen his wealth cut by half this year (to $5.1 billion) due to the condition of Chinese economy, Forbes said in a report. Mr Liu’s company has been struggling to shift its strategy towards selling more discounted products as China struggles to recover, the outlet further said. Analysts are also concerned and say a turnaround is nowhere in sight. He founded JD.com in 2004 and has been at the helm of affairs since then, the official website says.
JD.com has become the worst performer in the Hang Seng Tech Index in Hong Kong. On Nasdaq too, the shares of dual-listed firm have dropped about 60 per cent since peaking in January, the Forbes report said.
Mr Liu had outlined his new strategy in February, pledging $1 billion in subsidies to win over budget shoppers. But the expectation hasn’t lived up to its billing.
JD.com lags behind competitors including Alibaba and PDD Holdings when it comes to attracting merchants and distributors that sell low-cost goods, according to a research note by Morningstar analyst Chelsey Tam.
A few years ago, a student in Minnesota had accused Mr Liu of rape. She filed a civil lawsuit against him in a Minneapolis court, nearly four months after prosecutors declined to press criminal charges.
The lawsuit identified the student as Liu Jingyao, a Chinese woman who was not related to the JD.com executive.
However, Mr Liu reached a settlement with the student, bringing to a close a civil suit less than 48 hours before the trail could begin.
Details of the settlement weren’t released. Liu Jingyao had asked for at least $50,000 in damages, plus additional punitive damages in the lawsuit.