Shanghai-based social commerce company Pinduoduo has started to recruit international retailers to set up online stores on its app, according to a report on Tuesday. The site, Ebrun.com, covers news in China’s e-commerce sector and in this report cites unnamed sources familiar with the project codenamed “Duoduo International”.
According to these sources, Pinduoduo, which features a group-buying function and low prices, promised prospective retailers that it will not charge any fee for opening its platform to them. They only need to hand in qualifying documents and will get an invitation code and link once they’re verified. According to Ebrun, multinational F&B giant Nestle and Thai retailer TMG are among the firms waiting for approval.
Duoduo International seems to be a concrete measure for the fastest growing app in Chinese internet history to further challenge Alibaba and JD.com’s territory. Pinduoduo first announced that it would foray into the cross-border e-commerce sector in November last year, at China’s first national-level import expo.
However, there are stark differences between the social commerce expert and the more established e-commerce players. For example, the average order on Pinduoduo is only US$6, versus US$30 on Alibaba’s Taobao and Tmall, and US$60 on JD.com.
Pinduoduo soared above RMB 100 billion (US$14.8 billion) in yearly gross merchandise volume sold on its platform in just 2 years after its launch. It took 10 years for JD.com to get to this volume. Pinduoduo listed in the US mid last year. Its monthly active users reached 195 million in June 2018, that’s already 31% of Alibaba’s MAU. These users are predominantly female and live in China’s tier 3 cities.