E-commerce Pioneer Peggy Yu (俞渝) to Serve as 2019 Commencement Speaker

Yu Yu
Mar 28 2019

The founder and chair of e-commerce company Dangdang (当当网), Peggy Yu Yu (俞渝), will deliver the keynote address at NYU Shanghai’s third commencement on May 30.

Yu, who earned an MBA from the Stern School of Business and served as one of the graduate speakers at NYU’s 1992 graduation ceremony in Madison Square Garden, said she is looking forward to meeting and congratulating the Class of 2019. “There is no honor greater for an alum than being invited to speak at your alma mater’s commencement,” she said. “The fact that 27 years later, I am returning to NYU in its Shanghai setting is even more exciting, and a testament to the growth of the NYU Global Network.”

“We are very fortunate to have such an inspiring speaker at this year’s Commencement,” said Vice Chancellor Jeff Lehman. “For two decades, Peggy Yu has been a pillar of strong, values-driven leadership in a highly competitive industry. She built a company that has given enormous value to customers, employees, and investors, and I am eager to hear her words on this special occasion.”

Yu co-founded Dangdang in 1999 and helped transform the business into China's largest retailer of books. Dangdang, which also sells a wide range of other products, pioneered e-commerce in China along with Alibaba, Ctrip, Tencent and others. At a time when Chinese customers were unfamiliar with credit card or online payments, Dangdang created the cash-on-delivery model for online purchases, helping to grow the online shopping market.

Yu said that she hopes to focus her commencement remarks on the themes of growth and exploration, drawing upon her own life and career for examples.

Yu earned a BA in English from the Beijing Foreign Language Institute in Beijing in 1986.  Before founding Dangdang, she worked for a number of corporations in a variety of roles – from support staff to sales to business development and Mergers & Acquisitions. Yu has won numerous awards, including being named one of the Ten Most Influential Businesswomen in Asia by the Wall Street Journal in 2006 and one of the Ten Best Women CEOs in Ten Years by China Entrepreneur magazine in 2018

At the commencement ceremony, in recognition of her support for NYU Shanghai, Chancellor Yu Lizhong will also present Yu with the NYU Shanghai Medal of Honor. “NYU Shanghai and Ms. Yu share so much in common – we are both innovators, enjoy both a local and global outlook, and are passionate about education,” Chancellor Yu said. “She is the perfect speaker for our commencement.”