From a Grade Four teacher in regional South Australia to becoming one of China’s most successful online retailers – Liu Junling, Flinders University graduate and co-founder of China’s hugely successful Yihaodian, has taken out this year’s Austrade ACAA Award for Entrepreneur of the Year. Sophie Loras reports.
Mr Liu Junling is the CEO and co-Founder of on-line retailer Yihaodian and is based in Shanghai.
After graduating from Flinders University in South Australia with a Bachelor of Teaching and a Masters of International Business Administration, Mr Liu returned to China where, in 2008, he co-founded Chinese online supermarket Yihaodian.
Yihaodian has become an exemplar for on-line retailing – in its first year of operation, company sales amassed to RMB 4.17 million. By 2011, this had grown to RMB 2.72 billion.
Yihaodian has since received capital investment from global retailing giant Walmart and is the subject of a case study course in Wharton’s MBA program. In November 2011, Deloitte recognised Yihaodian as the fastest growing company in the Asia Pacific Region.
Before co-founding Yihaodian, Mr Liu was Co-President of Dell China and Hong Kong, while he also held senior management positions with Avaya China, Avaya Asia Pacific and Lucent Technologies.
Mr Liu says Australia has a reputation for being one of the best destinations in the world for education.
“My life changed completely by studying and living in Australia,” he says.
“I’ll always be grateful to Flinders University where I studied for my Master of International Business Administration.”
Mr Liu says a favourite subject was ‘Managing Change.’
“Because of this subject, I did a personal change plan which brought me into the corporate world from a teaching profession. Since then, my career has always been guided by the philosophy of change.”
He says challenging the status quo created many opportunities for him to advance his career within corporations.
“The same concept also led me to start Yihaodian with the dream of offering Chinese customers an alternative lifestyle. I’m sure this principle will continue to guide me in the future. Thank you Flinders, thank you Australia!”
Mr Liu was named a Top 10 Financial Figure of the Year in China’s IT Industry in 2006 and a Top 10 Figure of the Year in the Computer World in 2007. ■