JD.com’s Richard Liu makes top 10 list of Google Hong Kong searches for people in global current affairs
- The Chinese billionaire was one of the individuals who gained the most attention from Hong Kong internet users this year
Richard Liu Qiangdong, the JD.com founder and CEO who is the subject of a rape investigation in the US, made the Google Hong Kong top 10 search list for people in current international affairs this year.
Google released its Year in Search 2018 report on Wednesday, which showed that the Chinese billionaire was one of the individuals who gained the most attention from Hong Kong internet users this year, despite the company not having any substantial business in the city.
What drew Hong Kong’s interest was the accusation in August that Liu had raped a 21-year-old University of Minnesota student while he was on a trip to the US. Liu denies the allegation. No charges have been filed but if charged and convicted, he faces up to 30 years in prison. Prosecutors are close to deciding whether to charge Liu according to a report from The Wall Street Journal, but Liu’s lawyer did not provide an immediate reply to a request for comment.
JD signed an agreement early this year with Hong Kong’s Fung Retailing, which oversees over 3,000 stores in both Hong Kong and overseas, to develop artificial intelligence-driven retail solutions, but otherwise the US-listed e-commerce giant has no business operations in the city. Google invested US$550 million in JD.com in June this year.
The top ranking person on the Hong Kong search list for trending people in international current affairs was Stephen Hawking, the renowned English physicist who died in March this year.
Liu’s first public comment since the incident came during the company’s third-quarter results call last month. “For me personally, I will focus more on new businesses,” Liu said through a translator. He later elaborated that strategy, culture and teams would be his three other key priorities. “For mature businesses, our team can handle that,” he said.
Liu did not address the rape allegations on the call. JD’s chief financial officer Sidney Huang fielded the only question on that issue, saying it was not expected to have a material impact on the business and declined to comment further.
JD shares have lost about 30 per cent of their value since the incident was reported.