JD.com’s Richard Liu reasserts control at e-commerce empire, berating executives for poor performance as growth slows
Some of the content from Liu’s internal meetings has been previously reported by local media. According to local media outlet Huxiu, Liu spent one-and-a-half hours lecturing aides, criticising them for using fancy PowerPoint slides to cover up business incompetence.
JD.com did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the matter.
Liu’s sudden display of anger, after stepping down in April to hand over the CEO role to long-time confidant and company veteran Xu Lei, signals his determination to tackle challenges for the firm as the country’s e-commerce industry struggles amid slowing economic growth and COVID-19 related supply chain disruption.
Beijing-based JD.com posted 11 per cent revenue growth in the September quarter, higher than rival Alibaba Group Holding’s tepid 3 per cent growth but lower than budget platform Pinduoduo’s 65 per cent. Alibaba owns the Post.
JD.com’s Nasdaq-traded shares have dropped 12 per cent this year. In comparison, Pinduoduo’s Nasdaq stock has climbed more than 51 per cent.
According to the Huxiu report, Liu was particularly unhappy about the company’s pricing strategy.
“We need to go back to common sense, the five elements of business: product, price, service, cost and efficiency,” Liu told executives in a fourth-quarter management meeting, according to the report.
If JD.com is not able to win over the hearts of consumers, JD.com will become the next Suning.com, Liu warned. Suning.com is a home appliance maker based in Jiangsu Province, where Liu is from, which is currently going through a debt restructuring process.
Li Chengdong, founder and chief analyst at Beijing-based e-commerce consultancy Dolphin, said the reports show that Liu remains in firm control of his business empire. “He is on top of updates and the data from important businesses,” he said.
This article was first published on SCMP.