Diana Leon Band
7 Sept 2021
The CEO of the Chinese e-commerce giant JD.com will stop directing the day to day of the company, as announced by the group, while Beijing tightens the nuts on the technology sector.
After Jack Ma, the founder of rival Alibaba, he is the latest head of a large Chinese company to step down amid regulatory crackdown by the authorities.
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 late Monday.
In recent months, China has launched a campaign to curb what it sees as the “disorderly” development of internet companies.
The authorities, for example, have called the giants to order for their abusive collection of personal data and the working conditions of their employees.
They have also banned minors from playing video games online for more than three hours a week, in the name of reducing addiction.
JD.com is an e-commerce heavyweight in China and a competitor to the industry leader, Alibaba.
Richard Liu was arrested in the United States in 2018 following a rape complaint filed by a Chinese student. He was able to return to China shortly after.
JD.com did not give a specific reason for the withdrawal of its founder, underlining that he remains the CEO of the company.
His main rival, Jack Ma, has been keeping a low profile since November 2020. In addition, the Chinese authorities canceled the initial public offering in China of Alibaba-affiliated financial company Ant Group.
On the other hand, Alibaba received a record fine of 2.3 billion euros in April 2021 for abuse of a dominant position.
ByteDance founder (owner of the TikTok app), Zhang Yiming, announced in May that he was stepping down as chairman of his group. In March, it was Colin Huang who stepped down as president of e-commerce platform Pinduoduo, officially to focus on philanthropy.
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