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A Valentine’s Day Worth Remembering for JD Investors

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Feb. 20 2019, Updated 9:01 a.m. ET

JD CEO and wife going strong?

JD.com (JD) founder and CEO Richard Liu and his wife, Zhang Zetian, have neither separated nor considered divorce, according to a report from the South China Morning Post citing a statement from the couple’s lawyer on Valentine’s Day. Before the lawyer’s statement, there were rumors that JD’s top executive and his wife had parted ways.

Liu has tight control of JD—to the extent that the company’s board of directors can’t meet without him, the Wall Street Journal reported last year. Because of Liu’s strong hold on JD, his troubles are viewed as a risk to the company. The plunge in JD shares last year was partly due to investor worries about the fate of Liu, who was facing a probe over a rape allegation in the United States. The probe closed without Liu being charged.

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JD backed by Alibaba rivals

JD, one of China’s top ecommerce companies, is backed by several global corporate giants, including Google (GOOGL), Walmart (WMT), and Tencent (TCEHY). Last year, Google invested $550 million to purchase a small stake in JD. Google is also helping JD in its global expansion efforts.

JD is Alibaba’s (BABA) top challenger in China, and Walmart and Tencent are backing it as part of their attempt to counter Alibaba’s influence. Walmart competes with Alibaba in the retail business, particularly as Alibaba has sought to expand into a physical retail space with a supermarket chain under the Freshippo brand. Tencent competes with Alibaba in the mobile payments market.

JD generated $15.3 billion in revenue in the September quarter, its most recently reported period.

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