Flinders University has awarded its Convocation Medal to Chinese businessman and entrepreneur Mr Junling Liu.
A graduate in teaching and international business administration from Flinders, Mr Liu is co-founder and CEO of China’s largest online supermarket, Yihaodian (Number One Store).
Presenting the Medal at a ceremony at Flinders on Tuesday, Vice-Chancellor Professor Michael Barber said Mr Liu was one of Flinders’ most inspiring graduates in the field of commerce.
“His leadership, management and strategic role in Yihaodian, and the company’s extraordinary growth, represent an exemplary model of online business success through innovation,” Professor Barber said.
Mr Liu was cited for his “outstanding contribution, made internationally, in the areas of leadership and the advancement of professional practice in on-line retailing”.
Speaking at Bedford Park on Tuesday, Mr Liu said his time at Flinders had a major impact on his life, and that he was humbled by the award.
“Never would I have dreamed when I was a student here that I would receive this award,” he said.
“As far as I am concerned, Flinders is the dearest and most wonderful university; where people’s lives can be transformed, and this is what happened to me.
“Not only did I learn a lot of the curriculum, but I also learned many other things. I learned to challenge the status quo, and I learned to manage change.
“The recognition is very humbling to me. It is a great honour and something I will treasure in my life.”
Founded in China in 2008, Yihaodian’s emphasis on customer service, efficient logistics and broad product range have seen it expand rapidly.
The company currently has 20 major warehouses in Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou, Wuhan and Chengdu, and more than 211 of its own distribution centres in 18 major cities. From 2012 to the end of 2013, its registered users grew from 29 million to 60 million.
With strong customer demand for imported food in particular, Yihaodian has an international supply network that includes Australia.
American retailer Walmart bought 51 per cent equity in Yihaodian in 2012. In the same year, Mr Liu was recognised by the Australia China Alumni Association with the award of its Austrade Entrepreneur of the Year.
Before founding Yihaodian, Mr Liu had an outstanding career in Southeast Asia, Hong Kong and China in the business sector: he was formerly Co-President of Dell China and Hong Kong and held senior management positions with Avaya China, Avaya Asia Pacific and Lucent Technologies
Mr Liu credits his Master of International Business Administration course at Flinders as being instrumental in crystalising his business ambitions, and said a topic on change management that incorporated a personal change plan proved especially significant
“That assignment really helped me to develop a career path for myself. It produced a 3,500 word document which I’m still committed to,” he said.