Pinduoduo, China’s ‘Facebook-Groupon mashup,’ looks to raise $1.6 billion on Nasdaq

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In only three years since its founding, Pinduoduo (拼多多 pīnduōduō; literally, “piece together more and more”), what Pandaily calls China’s “Facebook-Groupon mashup,” has taken China’s deal seekers by storm.

  • Pinduoduo is now China’s second-most-popular ecommerce company, after Alibaba but ahead of JD.com, as measured by its massive user base of 344 million. The Wall Street Journal notes (paywall) that the number of Chinese people making a purchase using Pinduoduo in the past 12 months has tripled in a year.
  • Pinduoduo integrates with WeChat, China’s ubiquitous social media platform, and gamifies shopping to allow anywhere from dozens to millions of consumers to band together to buy products on the cheap directly from suppliers, as Ying-Ying Lu and Rui Ma explain in their TechBuzz China podcast episode on the company.
  • The company has filed for a $1.63 billion IPO on Nasdaq to reach a value of up to $24 billion, making it the second-largest public listing by a Chinese company this year, Reuters reports. Xiaomi, though its IPO shrunk (Access paywall) from an expected $10 billion to $4.72 billion in late June, was the largest.
  • Pinduoduo’s gross merchandise volume has exploded along with its user base. Reuters says that the volume “exceeded 100 billion yuan ($14.98 billion) last year, a milestone for Chinese e-commerce firms that took Alibaba’s Taobao marketplace five years and JD.com 10 years to reach.”
  • The company’s founder is an ex-Google employee by the name of Colin Huang, and Bloomberg reports (paywall) that he “could soon have an $8.3 billion fortune” in the wake of the IPO, making him one of the 25 richest people in China.
  • Not making a profit, at least yet, is the company itself: Its “net loss…remained broadly steady at 201 million yuan” ($29.7 million) from the first quarter of 2017 to the same quarter a year later, according to Reuters.
  • Pinduoduo is the market leader in rural China, where it has overtaken both Alibaba’s Taobao marketplace and JD.com. For more on “how ecommerce is transforming rural China,” with a focus on new moves by JD, check out this recent piece in the New Yorker (porous paywall).