JD founder’s case storms social media

The case of Liu Qiangdong, founder of Chinese e-commerce giant JD.com, who was accused of sexual misconduct in the US has gone viral, causing a social media storm home and abroad starting Sept 1.

Around 22,000 out of 27,000 followers of JD spokesperson, an official account of JD reposted the company’s responding statement of the case. Hundreds of thousands of users also reposted and commented on the case on Facebook and Twitter.

Jail records from Hennepin County, Minneapolis show a man named Liu Qiangdong, born on March 10, 1973, was arrested in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on suspicion of criminal sexual conduct.

Liu was arrested at 11:32 pm on Aug 31, and released pending investigation at 4 pm Sep 1, according to jail records.

JD.com said in a Sunday statement on its Weibo account its founder and CEO Liu Qiangdong, also known as Richard Liu, was falsely accused of sexual misconduct while in the US on a business trip.

The statement said Local police found no misconduct and that Liu would continue his trip as planned.

“We will take necessary legal action against false reporting or rumors,” the company said.

Minneapolis Police Department spokesman John Elder said an investigation was ongoing and declined to provide details of the arrest, according to a Reuters report.

“We don’t know if there will be charges or not because we haven’t concluded an investigation,” he told Reuters on Sunday.

Minnesota law defines five degrees of criminal sexual misconduct, ranging from gross misdemeanors to felonies and covering a broad array of conduct ranging from nonconsensual touching to violent assault with injury. The jail records for Liu don’t indicate the degree of the alleged offense,  a report by the Associated Press said.

The University of Minnesota said Liu was a student in its doctor of business administration program, primarily held in Beijing in partnership with Tsinghua University and aimed at full-time executives. The students were in the Twin Cities last week as part of their training, Reuters reported.

University spokeswoman Emma Bauer declined to comment further and referred questions to the Minneapolis Police Department in the statement, the report said.

JD.com, the main rival to Alibaba Group, is backed by Walmart Inc, Alphabet Inc’s Google, and China’s Tencent Holdings Ltd.

The company has not been performing well recently. Its Q2 net income totaled 122.3 billion yuan($18.15 billion), up 31.2 percent, while its net profit was down 51.04 percent to 478 million yuan based on non-GAAP accounting, according to the company’s Q2 fiscal report released on Aug 16.

Reference to China Daily reports.