On the evening of November 15, JD released its financial report for the third quarter of 2023, and also announced important personnel appointments: JD Group CEO Xu Ran also served as JD Retail CEO, and Xin Lijun, the former CEO of JD Retail, had another appointment.
From the head of retail finance at JD, to the CFO of the JD Group, to the CEO of the JD Group, Xu Ran, who has been promoted to three levels in a row within five years, is now personally in charge of JD's most important business, JD Retail. As a gentle and elegant female manager, why did Xu Ran gain the trust of JD over and over again, carrying heavy burdens? Can she lead the steady development of JD and JD retail in the current competitive market?
Why Xu Ran?
According to public information from JD, Xu Ran graduated from Peking University with a double bachelor's degree in science and economics. He was a certified public accountant in China and the US. He worked for PwC for nearly 20 years and has a deep professional background and rich experience in financial management.
After joining JD in July 2018, Xu Ran became the head of retail finance at JD. In June 2020, Huang Xuande, the senior minister and CFO who helped JD go public, retired, and Xu Ran took over as CFO of the JD Group.
During his tenure as the CFO of JD Group, Xu Ran led the team to complete the second listing of JD Group in Hong Kong, the spin-off listing of JD Health, JD Logistics, and JD Warehousing Facilities, and the primary market financing of JD Industrial and JD Production and Development; mergers and acquisitions of listed companies such as Dada and Debon Logistics; and promoted the restructuring of JD's technology business. It can be said that Xu Ran made important contributions to JD's extensive capital market layout and business development at this stage.
In May 2023, Xu Ran was promoted to CEO of JD Group. There is Liu Qiangdong, who dominates the direction of JD, and there are hundreds of thousands of employees known for their fighting spirit and brotherly culture, yet Xu Ran was able to rise three levels in a row as a female manager within five years. It can be seen that Liu Qiangdong and JD have recognized her.
As one of the few female CEOs in the industry, Xu Ran's style of conduct has also received a lot of attention. Since becoming CEO of JD Group, Xu Ran has not made many public appearances, and his opinions have been rational and moderate. It can be seen that his style is relatively low-key. According to employees within JD, Xu Ranjing's style is careful and careful, observant, and extremely organized in his work through business data reports.
According to external evaluations, Liu Qiangdong grasped the direction and strategy, and Xu Ran gave full play to the advantages of strong execution and fine management. The two just complement each other.
Where is the future of JD retail?
Now, as CEO of the group, Xu Ran has added a new position and is also the CEO of JD's most important business, JD Retail. It can be seen that JD's recognition of her is still “increasing,” and the responsibilities on her shoulders are even greater.
Currently, consumption in industries such as 3C home appliances is weak. Apart from Taotian and Pinduoduo, Douyin, Kuaishou, Meituan, and Video accounts are all accelerating the development of e-commerce businesses. JD, and JD retail in particular, is facing extremely tough competition. Whether Xu Ran, who comes from finance, has sufficient business ability to lead JD retail to withstand pressure and develop steadily should be the most important concern of the outside world.
In fact, Xu Ran has already experienced difficult times in JD. In 2018, when she first joined JD as the head of retail finance at JD, she faced a slowdown in JD's growth rate and declining performance. At that time, under Liu Qiangdong's leadership, JD made rapid adjustments, initiated drastic changes, clarified its business philosophy, implemented organizational adjustments, cut down marginal businesses, and focused on the main retail business. A year later, JD revised its course, got out of the fog, and returned to high-quality growth. Xu Ran is deeply involved in this process. He not only has an in-depth understanding of JD's retail business, but is also a person who has fought and won tough battles.
When a new official takes office, what will happen to them?
As Group CEO, Xu Ran also serves as CEO of JD Retail. Sina's financial analysis has three advantages.
The first is to use the power of strengthening JD's retail sales.
Retail is the foundation of JD. JD's financial report for the third quarter just released shows that JD's revenue for the third quarter was 247.7 billion yuan, of which retail business revenue was 212.1 billion yuan. Net profit attributable to common shareholders of listed companies under non-US GAAP was 10.6 billion yuan, which greatly exceeded market expectations, and JD retail was the main source of JD's revenue and profit.
Looking at it now, JD's profit is not a problem, and the revenue growth rate is declining, but this is the result of common problems faced by the industry plus JD's active adjustments. Since JD implemented the “low price strategy,” increasing subsidies and concessions and promoting equal traffic rights for self-operated and tripartite merchants will all affect revenue to a certain extent, which is a short-term pain that must be experienced.
Judging from the third quarter's earnings report, JD's revenue has slowed but not stalled, which is invaluable. On the just-ended Double Eleven, the total number of viewers of the JD marketing live broadcast exceeded 380 million, sales of more than 60 brands exceeded 1 billion yuan, the turnover of nearly 20,000 brands increased more than 3 times over the same period last year, and the volume of new merchant transactions increased more than 5 times over the previous month. It can be seen from this that JD's low price strategy is beginning to bear fruit.
However, as Liu Qiangdong said, low prices are the eternal weapon of retail sales, and the price war is also an endless war. JD is still far from relaxed. At this point, Xu Ran strengthened JD retail management, which could add a major boost to JD's retail growth.
Second, it is conducive to the collaborative development of JD's various business segments.
Based on retail, JD has spawned businesses such as logistics, technology, health, and industry. Whether it's a low price strategy or other important action, it's often more than just a retail sub-group. For example, logistics needs to provide performance service guarantees, and technology needs to provide a technical foundation. Good coordination among various businesses can produce the effect of 1+1 greater than 2, but if they fight separately, the chain will drop when the war is most critical. Xu Ran's comprehensive consideration and overall scheduling from a group perspective will obviously reduce further obstacles to collaboration among various businesses.
Third, it will strengthen JD's cost-efficiency experience strategy.
JD's values and business model determine that JD's low price strategy can neither follow the path of low prices and low quality, hurt the user experience, nor simply rely on money-burning subsidies. It must squeeze out space through cost reduction and efficiency in the supply chain, benefit brand partners and users while having money to make money, and achieve sustainable low prices and sustainable enterprise growth. Xu Ran, who comes from finance, should have more in-depth opinions and more professional abilities in terms of fine enterprise management and cost reduction and efficiency.
This Double Eleven, JD retail “really cheap” theme and JD's live marketing broadcast brought a surprise to the market and users. Whether Xu Ran can lead JD and JD retail in the future and create greater breakthroughs remains to be seen.