Pinduoduo joins remote work tool boom

Pinduoduo, a Chinese ecommerce platform where users can participate in group-buying deals, released its own remote working tool, Knock, on Monday. Pinduoduo joins a host of other Chinese companies capitalizing on demand for collaboration platforms for remote work as Chinese telecommuters exceed 300 million amid the coronavirus pandemic.  

Knock was initially developed for internal use within Pinduoduo, but is now publicly available.

  • The platform has fairly basic communication functions, such as instant messaging and group chats, document sharing, and conference-calling capabilities. Unlike Slack, Knock does not appear to have channels or “apps” where users can sync different platforms to their productivity flows. Knock also lacks file transfer, task approval, and video-conferencing features, according to KrAsia.
  • Chinese competitors for remote work platforms include Alibaba’s DingTalk, Tencent’s Lark, and WeChat Work, which have all gained significant momentum as remote work accelerates in China. Lark and DingTalk were both endorsed by Unesco for remote learning — Pinduoduo’s Knock was excluded from the list of “distance learning” solutions likely because it does not support video conferencing.
  • It’s common for Chinese tech companies to have their own internal messaging apps: Qihoo 360, Baidu, Meituan, Huawei, and JD.com all use their own. Like Knock, many of these platforms were created for internal use before being released to the public.

The bottom line: Chinese tech companies see a robust future in tools for remote work and education.  

—Caroline Stetson