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Richard Liu, the billionaire who founded e-commerce giant JD.com, gave up all his shares in two affiliated companies, in the latest move by a Chinese tech tycoon stepping back from management amid Chinese President Xi Jinping’s “common prosperity” campaign.
Liu transferred his 45% stakes in Xi’an Jingdong Xincheng Information Technology and Suqian Jingdong Tianning Jiankang Technology to Miao Qin, JD.com’s vice president, according to filings with the Hong Kong stock exchange. Xi’an Jingdong is a wholly-owned subsidiary of JD Logistics, which raised $3.2 billion in an initial public offering last year, while Suqian Jingdong is wholly-owned by JD Health International, the healthcare arm of the tech giant. JD Health International’s $3.5 billion listing in December 2020 was Hong Kong’s largest IPO that year.
The move was made to “improve administration efficiency” of the two companies, according to the filings. In April, Liu, 48, stepped down as CEO of JD.com, but remains as chairman “to focus on JD Group’s long term strategies, mentoring younger management and contributing to the revitalization of rural areas,” according to the regulatory filings.
China’s internet sector has been shaken by increasing scrutiny that started in 2020. Since then, several Chinese billionaire founders stepped down from management of their companies, such as ByteDance’s Zhang Yiming and Pinduoduo’s Colin Huang. In July, the Wall Street Journal reported that Alibaba’s Jack Ma plans to relinquish control of fintech giant Ant Group.
Liu started JD.com in 1998 and is one of China’s wealthiest people. In Forbes’ latest China’s 100 Richest list, Liu was ranked No. 28 with an estimated net worth of $17.6 billion.