26 – 100 in alphabetical order: Bill (Zhaoyu) Qian, head of corporate venturing and business strategy, JD Digits

Bill Qian heads the corporate venture capital (CVC) activities for China-based e-commerce firm JD.com’s financial technology offshoot JD Digits, the technology unicorn with more than $20bn valuation.

Qian joined JD’s crowdfunding business group as head of strategy in mid-2015 and founded the early-stage venture capital vehicle JD Innovation Ventures – now called Qianshu Capital – a year later.

He then took up the head of cross-border mergers and acquisitions role in February 2017 before making his way up to general manager of CVC later the same year.

JD.com appointed Qian head of CVC in January 2019 and he additionally added business strategy duties in April 2020. He oversees investments in enterprise services, industrial internet-of-things (IoT) and consumer internet technologies.

Formed in 2013 as JD Finance under JD Group, JD Digits was rebranded in late 2018 to focus on financial technology, artificial intelligence, data, the IoT and blockchain. The unit has built a fintech platform that provides services including payment gateway, consumer finance and merchant lending services.

The unit most recently invested an undisclosed amount in advertising and media company Unimedia in August 2019, according to PEData, which came a month after it had co-led a $50m series B round for online automotive financing platform Linkfin Technology.

When Qian joined JD in 2015 as head of crowdfunding strategy, he concentrated his efforts on equity crowdfunding as part of a year-long stint, helping the group raise more than RMB1.1bn ($162m) for 89 startups.

Concurrently, Qian helped JD Finance launch Qianshu Capital which typically pursues series A deals and earlier for consumer-focused startups, in areas such as lifestyle, fashion, cosmetics, health and entertainment.

Some of Qian’s portfolio companies from this time included retro radio manufacturer Mao King, honey and bee product supplier Dengfenglai and suitcase producer 90Fun, all of which have online stores on the JD platform.

Qian moved across to head JD Finance’s cross-border M&A in February 2017, helping form joint ventures in Thailand with retail conglomerate Central Group and Singapore-based principal investment firm Provident Capital in September the same year.

Before joining JD, Qian had been a vice-president of corporate development at US-based IoT acoustic processing technology developer One Llama Labs from 2014 to 2015, having joined from investment firm Trustbridge Partners in Hong Kong and Shanghai where he spent four years, leading eight deals and invested more than $100m.

Qian started his career in 2007 at Air China as an operation manager before switching to China Development Bank as an investment analyst, for a year each.

He holds a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from Shanghai Jiao Tong University where he had been vice-president of the student union of a 40,000 student body. He earned his master’s degree in finance from Nanyang Technological University and ranked first in class achieved dean’s honour list, as well as an MBA from University of Toronto where he came in first place in a venture capital and investment competition and second place in a private debt case analysis competition.

GCV Powerlist 2020 PDF