Founder of Richard Liu Blames Underperforming Employees for Company’s Struggle

Richard Liu, Founder

Richard Liu Qiangdong, the billionaire founder of, a major Chinese e-commerce player, has issued a stern warning amidst increasing competition in the nation’s online shopping arena.

In a circulated video widely reported by local media, the 51-year-old entrepreneur emphasized the company’s intolerance for unproductive employees and hinted at possible layoffs.

“[For people who] underperform and don’t work hard, the company will not tolerate them and will weed them out,” Liu stated firmly. He also noted that high-performing employees should not be burdened with overtime, while average performers who demonstrate diligence need not fear losing their jobs.

These remarks, among his toughest in recent times, signify a change in tone from Liu, who previously emphasized camaraderie within the company by referring to staff as “my brothers”.

Richard Liu, Founder

This shift follows a series of adjustments to’s work policies, including reducing the lunch break from two hours to one and implementing measures to curb “buddy punching,” where employees clock in for absent colleagues.

An unnamed executive expressed optimism regarding these changes, highlighting the need to address management issues and create a fair environment that motivates staff to strive for excellence.

While did not immediately respond to requests for comment, the company announced plans to increase yearly gratuity payments for procurement staff gradually, with additional bonuses, starting July 1.

This follows recent salary hikes and bonus increments aimed at incentivizing employees.

Richard Liu, Founder

Li Chengdong, head of internet industry think tank Dolphin, believes these measures reflect Liu’s concerns about sustaining growth amidst fierce competition in the e-commerce sector.

However, he cautions that focusing solely on work schedule changes may not be sufficient to drive long-term growth, especially as consumer preferences evolve.

To address changing market dynamics, is looking into strategies to lower product prices, drawing inspiration from platforms like Pinduoduo. Initiatives such as discount campaigns and flash sales aim to attract budget-conscious consumers.

Despite economic challenges, reported a better-than-expected 7% increase in first-quarter sales, with promising growth in retail and general merchandise sectors. However, adapting to shifting market demands remains a priority for the company’s sustained success.

Mason Williams
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