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JD.com founder Richard Liu steps down as e-commerce giant CEO


Richard Liu, the founder of Chinese e-commerce giant JD.com, will step down as CEO. His departure comes after a number of high-profile tech founders left their senior roles amid Beijing’s regulatory crackdown on its domestic tech sector.

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JD.com’s billionaire founder Richard Liu has resigned as chief executive of the Chinese e-commerce giant, joining a host of high-profile tech bosses who have stepped down from their roles at the companies they founded.

It comes as Beijing continues to tighten regulations on its domestic tech sector and scrutinize corporate business practices.

Xu Lei, the chairman of JD.com, will take over as CEO and join the company’s board of directors, effective immediately.

This is JD.com’s second management shakeup in the past seven months. In September, Xu was named chairman after stepping down as head of JD.com’s retail business. Liu will remain chairman of the company’s board of directors.

Liu has taken a more low-key approach on JD.com since being accused of rape in 2018, an allegation he has denied.

Liu’s departure from the CEO role comes after a number of tech executives pulled out of the companies they founded over the past year. Last year, Colin Huang, the founder of fast-growing e-commerce company Pinduoduo, stepped down as chairman. In November, ByteDance founder Zhang Yiming resigned as chairman, and Su Hua, the co-founder of short-video app Kuaishou, also stepped down.

Beijing has sought to tighten regulation in areas ranging from antitrust to data protection and has punished companies that break its rules.

So far, JD.com has escaped major regulatory action, unlike rival Alibaba, which was hit with a $2.8 billion anti-monopoly fine.

JD.com said Liu will focus on guiding the company’s long-term strategies, mentoring young executives and contributing to the revitalization of rural areas – a key goal of the company’s “common prosperity” campaign. Chinese President Xi Jinping, the government’s push for moderate wealth for all.

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