Chinese e-commerce tycoon part of celebrity tech elite

Published 7:56 am Thursday, September 6, 2018

BEIJING — The e-commerce billionaire who was arrested and released by Minneapolis police is a prominent member of a Chinese tech elite who enjoy the glamor of movie stars in their homeland.

Admirers know Richard Liu’s story well: The son of peasants built a Beijing electronics shop into, China’s biggest online direct retailer, selling everything from clothes to toys to fresh vegetables. He appealed to customers by promising genuine products in a market buffeted by scandals over fake and sometimes deadly milk and other goods.

Like a pop star keeping fans up to date, the 45-year-old Liu shares some details of his life on social media, including his 2015 marriage to a woman 19 years his junior.

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That celebrity meant Liu immediately attracted attention when news broke that police in Minneapolis arrested him Friday and released him a day later. said he was falsely accused and police found no misconduct. The company said Liu was back in Beijing on Monday. A police report said the charge stemmed from a felony rape accusation but gave no details.