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The billionaire founder of China's Amazon, JD.com, has dumped nearly $1 billion of company shares since stepping down as CEO 3 months ago

·2 min read
Liu Qiangdong, or Richard Liu, founder of JD.com, or JD, speaking at an event in 2017.
Liu Qiangdong, or Richard Liu, founder of China's ecommerce giant JD.com, speaking at an event in 2017.Visual China Group via Getty Images
  • Richard Liu stepped down as JD.com's CEO in April amid Beijing's two-year crackdown on tech giants.

  • He has since cashed out nearly $1 billion of shares in JD.com and its listed subsidiary.

  • Liu has been slowly retreating from JD.com ever since he faced rape allegations in 2018.

In the three months since he's stepped down as the CEO of JD.com, Richard Liu has sold almost $1 billion of shares in the ecommerce giant.

In early April, Liu, also known as Liu Qiangdong, stepped down as chief executive of the company while retaining his role as chairman.

Between late April and early May, Liu sold about 8.8 million shares in JD Health, according to Hong Kong Exchange filings. The shares were worth about $57.1 million. The company is JD.com's Hong Kong-listed subsidiary that focuses on healthcare products and online medical consultation.

Since late May, Liu has sold about 15.1 million, or about $907 million, of shares in the company, per a June 19 Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filing. JD.com is listed on Nasdaq.

Liu founded JD.com in 1998. The company quickly grew to become an ecommerce giant and was at times compared to Amazon, while Liu was sometimes called the "Jeff Bezos of China." However, Liu's wealth pales in comparison to Bezos'. The Chinese billionaire was worth about $14.2 billion on Tuesday, while Bezos' wealth was at about $138.9 billion, according to Forbes.

In the last two years, China has launched probes aimed at breaking up tech companies even as it has strengthened its control over data security and sought to limit consumers' usage of internet and gaming platforms.

Even though Beijing seemed to be relaxing its approach in recent weeks, China's "old guard" tech moguls have largely vacated leadership roles at the companies they founded during its two-year crackdown.

Last year, Zhang Yiming, who founded TikTok's owner ByteDance, stepped down as the company's chairman after giving up his CEO role. TikTok's rival Kuaishou lost founder Su Hua as its chief executive, while Pinduoduo, an ecommerce platform, bade goodbye to Colin Huang as CEO.

As for JD.com's Liu, his retreat started in 2018, after he faced allegations of sexual assault from a University of Minnesota student. His accuser, Liu Jingyao, filed civil charges in Minnesota in April 2019, accusing Liu and JD.com of false imprisonment, civil assault and battery, and sexual assault or battery. A jury trial has been set for September 26 to hear the case. Liu and JD.com have repeatedly denied the claims.

JD.com spokesperson declined to comment for this article.

Read the original article on Business Insider