Start-up success tales don’t often begin with a Sociology degree. Yet, fertile entrepreneurial soil isn’t necessarily the result of one’s initial education. Liu Quiangdong, the CEO of a huge Chinese cyber-business, leveraged his modest degree in understanding social problems by partnering it with augmented independent computer studies to first join “Japan Life,” an herbal health supplement business, and from there earn a directorship in the company.
By grasping opportunity after opportunity, Liu Qiangdong was in the sweet spot to go solo. Armed with social problem-solving capability and skill in the service sector, Liu Quiangdong was a natural to open a tech-specific retail store, honing it into a successful model for a chain. The leap to an e-business came when Qiangdong saw how an epidemic, like SARS, made residents uneasy about shopping abroad. Qiangdong realized he could make customer-centered shopping from home easy and affordable and JD.com was born.