Richard Liu studied sociology at Renmin University in Beijing. However, he would use most of his time to develop his coding capabilities by doing freelance projects. He then went on to study at the China Europe International Business School following which, he was hired by Japan Life. He was there for two years and served Director for Business and IT. Prior to joining Japan Life, Richard Liu briefly owned a restaurant while he was in college, but the venture ran only for a short time.
Richard Liu Qiandong opened his first shop in Beijing, in 1998. He used the last characters of both his wife’s name and his name to come up with Jingdong. The company had over 10 physical locations in 2003. In 2004, his money-maker was affected by SARS and he turned his business into JD.com, purely online store. Richard Liu also came from a background of entrepreneurs as his parents owned their own transport business.
At the time when Richard Liu began JD.com, China had one leading online store known as Dangdang. Companies like Amazon were not yet on the radar. Richard Liu decided that his company would only sell original goods and provide clear billing for its customers and this made the business more popular with its clients.
JD.com started by selling computer and IT accessories and every year they would add a new category of products to the site. They did it this way because when they converted it into an e-store, they had a limited amount of capital available. By 2010, they had a wide variety of products.
Richard Liu Qiandong has over 150,000 employees in his business and it is estimated to be worth $60 billion making it the third highest market valuation in the online market in China. The company’s delivery system is very efficient in that, you are able to receive your order within 6 hours of purchase. They also have an international delivery service.
The most popular products are food and fashion. Richard Liu has 500 logistics centers for his company and they make sure to give all their customer’s the same service no matter where you are or who you are.
The Transport and Infrastructure division at Fortress has been one of the most active in recent years. This was clear to all observers when Wes Edens the current CEO of the private equity division launched the new Miami-Fort Lauderdale route for Brightline. The private passenger railroad operator was increasing its presence in the area having established other similar routes earlier. This means that the commute is reduced to a 35-minute rider in trains that offer free WIFI, leather seats, charging ports and wide Isles. This for Wes Edens was another dream come true for the group. They had envisioned this for a long time, and their investment was paying off. Wes Edens speaks passionately about investments in the transport and infrastructure area. He is fully aware of the potential competition, but is also confident that the company has put in place some of the best infrastructures to support any investment they make. Brightline found an American company to make the passenger trains. This would guarantee that the quality of the trains would be excellent and at the same time would not compromise on comfort and speed. The train will move at more than 90 miles an hour which is fast enough for a distance considered too short to fly yet too long to drive. All this will cost only 10 dollars considered a steal given the comparable cost of an Uber over the same distance not even considering the extra hour that would be spent on the road at peak hours.
Wes Edens was one of the founding members of the Fortress Investment Company and has been with the group since then. The group will be hitting twenty this year as a private company following its acquisition by SoftBank. This, however, is something Edens considers a positive development as they are now able to make more decisions independently without the need to consult shareholders. The acquisition also comes with extra cash for investment and its one of the reasons which make Wes Edens see the deal as a win-win situation for Fortress and SoftBank. He, however, remains in the management team even after the acquisition.