Summary of Online Retailer JD.com Gets Tough on Its High-Level Managers

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Online Retailer JD.com Gets Tough on Its High-Level Managers  summary
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Ever since JD.com founder and CEO Liu Qiangdong was arrested in Minnesota in August 2018 on suspicion of rape, the company has been on shaky grounds. Though Liu was released a day later and quickly resumed executive duties in China, each media report about the incident sent JD.com’s stock on a roller coaster ride. The public criticized and mocked the company. Longstanding management problems inside the company intensified. With pressure building, Liu is determined to turn things around in 2019. Beginning in March, JD.com has been trimming its staff with a brutal vehemence from the top down and restructuring the organization. Read on for a look at how a moral crisis forced China’s second-largest online retailer to clean up its managerial mess.

About the Author

Dong Jie is a reporter for tech media platform All Weather TMT. She writes about China’s largest internet corporations and start-ups, often securing exclusive interviews for in-depth analyses. 

 

Summary

In the first half of 2019, many internet companies in China were downsizing, but none as much as the country’s second-largest online retailer JD.com. In February 2019, the company announced that it would lay off or reassign 10% of high-level management. During March and April, the company dismissed its chief technology officer, its chief law officer, its chief public affairs officer, and many other department heads.

JD.com began at the top but will go through the management levels tier by tier down to the very bottom. Starting at the top was supposed to signal JD.com’s determination and commitment to carrying through its huge reorganization to the very end. The company eliminated entire departments. The atmosphere at JD.com has been tense and stressful, with bad news for employees at every turn. One day, management got rid of base salaries for delivery personnel; the next day, it established a “996 work schedule” – that is, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., 6 days a week. 

However, many observers interpret JD.com’s measures as a positive signal. Investors see ...


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