The CEO of the Chinese e-commerce giant JD.com will withdraw from day-to-day business, as the group announced.
After Jack Ma, the founder of his competitor Alibaba, he is the youngest head of a large Chinese company who behaves more discreetly against the background of official controls.
Richard Liu (Chinese name Liu Qiangdong), who founded JD.com in 1998, will “spend more time developing the company’s long-term strategies,” the company said in a statement on Monday evening.
In the past few months, China has launched a campaign to curb what it sees as “disorderly” development of Internet companies.
The authorities have called the corporations to order, for example, because of their improper collection of personal data and the working conditions of their employees.
They have also banned minors from playing online video games for more than three hours a week to reduce addiction.
JD.com is an e-commerce heavyweight in China and competes with industry leader Alibaba.
Richard Liu was arrested in the United States in 2018 after a Chinese student filed a complaint of rape. Shortly afterwards he was able to return to China.
JD.com did not give specific reasons for its founder’s retirement, emphasizing that he would remain the company’s CEO.
Its main rival Jack Ma has been keeping a low profile since November 2020 and the official cancellation of the IPO of the Alibaba-affiliated financial company Ant Group in China.
Alibaba was fined EUR 2.3 billion in April 2021 for abuse of a dominant position.
The founder of ByteDance (owner of the TikTok application), Zhang Yiming, announced in May that he would step down as chairman of his group. In March, Colin Huang resigned as chairman of the Pinduoduo e-commerce platform to officially devote himself to philanthropy.
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