E-commerce for Everyone: Pinduoduo Breaks into China's 'Internet Top Five'
COVID-19 and China
Pinduoduo workers harvesting oranges in Zigui county, Hubei province. Image credit: Pinduoduo

The market cap of Pinduoduo (拼多多, PDD:NASDAQ), one of the largest Chinese e-commerce platforms, hit USD 39 billion this week, surpassing that of used-to-be-big Internet company Baidu (百度, BIDU:NASDAQ). Losing 33.9% since the beginning of this year, the search engine firm has only a modest USD 36.5 million in the market cap as of August 29.

Founded in 2015, Pinduoduo was among first China's e-commerce unicorns. Its valuation grew tenfold, reaching USD 15 billion in early 2017 in a flash, after tech behemoth Tencent (0700:HK) poured over USD 200 million into the firm. The company raised another USD 1.4 billion in its Series D financing round and then made a successful exit, going public on Nasdaq in July 2018. 

Shanghai-based Pinduoduo is one of the B2C platforms that target consumers in countless China's tier-two and tier-three cities. It initially launched a low-margin marketplace business, concentrating on the economy of scale and thereby maximizing market penetration. Cutthroat competition between China's e-commerce leaders along with the recent consumption upgrade made the company adjust its business model (read about the details in EqualOcean's interview with Pinduoduo's VP Victor Tseng).

Nowadays, Pinduoduo is a firm with nearly 366 million MAU (monthly active users), it is the second online marketplace in China by this indicator. EqualOcean projected that the company's market share in the country reached 16.3% this spring. However, it is still far from the absolute leader, Alibaba (BABA:NYSE), which is currently holding over 58% of the local market.

Last week, the newborn e-commerce juggernaut published its second-quarter financial results. Better-than-expected numbers stirred the markets that immediately got frenzied, resulting in a huge leap of the company's New York stock. The share price has surged 34.39% from USD 25.01 to USD 33.61 in just two weeks of trading.

Betting big on Pinduoduo and the likes, global investors consider the inexhaustible demand existing in China's ever-growing peripheral agglomerations. What's more, due to the platform's specific price segment, this demand isn't likely to ebb away once an economic downturn comes. EqualOcean believes that the core capacities of the company are crisis-proof.

*Contributor: Wang Butao

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