JD.com founder Richard Liu to get US$273 million from the e-commerce giant’s first dividend since 2014 IPO

  • The company has approved a special cash dividend of 63 US cents per ordinary share and US$1.26 per American depositary share, for a payout of US$2 billion
  • JD.com’s first dividend payment since going public comes as many Chinese entrepreneurs and investors are looking to cash out in a volatile market

JD.com founder Richard Liu Qiangdong is expected to get HK$2.1 billion (US$272.8 million) in cash with the company’s first cash dividend since going public on the Nasdaq in 2014.

The Beijing-based e-commerce giant said on Wednesday that it has approved a special cash dividend of 63 US cents per ordinary share and US$1.26 per American depositary share. In total, dividend payouts will amount to about US$2 billion, the company said.

Liu, whose net worth is about US$13.7 billion, holds 433 million ordinary shares, 13.8 per cent of the total, according to JD.com’s 2021 financial filing. Walmart holds 289 million ordinary shares, a 9.3 per cent stake.

Social media and video gaming juggernaut Tencent Holdings distributed most of its shares in JD.com as a special dividend to investors last December. Tencent’s stake in the company subsequently fell to 2.3 per cent, down from 17 per cent. This has made Liu once again the largest shareholder of the company he founded in 1998.

The dividend comes as many of China‘s most successful investors and entrepreneurs seek to cash out on investments in an increasingly volatile market amid regulatory crackdowns and pandemic-fuelled economic headwinds.

Sequoia Capital China, one of the country’s top venture capital investors, sold HK$6.23 billion worth of shares in the on-demand delivery firm Meituan, according to stock exchange filings on Tuesday.

“Our board’s approval of the special dividend reflects our confidence in the company’s long-term growth potential and strong balance sheet, which allow us to pay the dividend to shareholders, while maintaining financial and operational flexibility to continue to grow our business over the long term,” Liu said.

Liu, who built his company up selling electronics out of a 4-square-metre (43 sq ft) stall in Beijing’s Zhongguancun, has made JD.com one of the country’s largest e-commerce platforms. It has since spawned two other successful companies, JD Logistics and JD Health, which both went public in the past 18 months.

Liu also sold 3.8 million shares in JD Health last Friday and another 5 million shares on Tuesday, pulling in HK$440 million in total, according to corporate filings in Hong Kong.

Author: Tracy Qu, SCMP

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