One of China’s richest e-commerce entrepreneurs will donate shares in his flagship JD.com currently worth $2.28 billion to charity, the company said in a U.S. stock filing today.
JD.com “has been notified by Mr. Richard Qiangdong Liu, the chairman of the board of directors and chief executive officer of the company, that he will donate 62,376,643 Class B ordinary shares of the company to a third-party foundation for charitable purposes,” the announcement said. JD.com’s shares trade at the Hong Kong Stock Exchange and on the Nasdaq.
Liu has a fortune worth $15.9 billion on the Forbes Real-Time Billionaire List today. JD.com didn’t name the foundation Liu will donate the shares to.
Liu made headlines in the U.S. when he was arrested in Minneapolis in August 2018 for alleged sexual misconduct; the county attorney did not pursue charges after an investigation.
Liu, 47, opened a retail shop in 1998, but closed it six years later and moved the business online, creating one of China’s most powerful Internet businesses; U.S.-listed rivals include Alibaba Group and Pinduoduo. Walmart owns 9.3% of Beijing-headquartered JD.com.
Liu’s move comes amid a push by China’s President Xi Jinping to promote “common prosperity” and narrow a wealth gap that has emerged since the beginning of its reform era four decades ago. Between 2011 and 2020, the country’s GDP slightly more than doubled, while the collective fortunes of the members of China’s 100 Richest list between 2011 and 2021 increased approximately sixfold.
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Among other billionaire tech industry donors last year, Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun gave $2.2 billion worth of shares for social needs, and Wang Xing, the chairman of China food delivery platform Meituan, donated $2 billion of shares. China Internet heavyweight Tencent announced corporate pledges of 100 billion yuan, or more than $15 billion, for social good.
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