Pinduoduo CEO on What’s Next for Chinese E-commerce in the Wake of the Coronavirus Pandemic

Coming on the heels of a global pandemic, newly appointed Pinduoduo CEO Chen Lei discusses how the e-commerce platform plans to bring people closer to the benefits of the digital economy while staying true to the needs of a post-coronavirus market

YUNNAN, China, Sept. 11, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Pinduoduo, the largest interactive e-commerce platform in China, is ready to take on the new challenge of transforming the digital economy in an era stricken by a global pandemic, according to Chief Executive Officer Chen Lei.

Chen, who recently took over at the helm of the global tech giant after serving as its Chief Technology Officer, detailed where exactly the company plans to focus its pioneering efforts in technology: Agriculture. According to him, PDD will continue to explore the best use of technology to transform the industry and further improve its efficiency.

“We hope that through building up PDD, we can offer even more experiences that can bring the best of the digital economy to everyone,” Chen said in his first remarks to the media after being appointed CEO on July 1. “We hope that this can help provide equal opportunities to both our users and sellers.”

As the fastest-growing e-commerce platform in China, PDD’s interactive team purchases and social commerce model have proven to be a big hit among Chinese online shoppers and users. In less than five years, the company was able to amass over 600 million active users, a phenomenal feat for a company that initially started selling fruits and fresh produce. Today, the tech giant is also the largest online marketplace for agricultural products in the country.

Founded by ex-Google engineer Colin Huang and his team in 2015, Pinduoduo continues to be the second-largest online marketplace in China by the number of users and the number of orders. It also currently stands as one of the world's largest internet companies.

Huang stepped down as the company’s CEO on July 1 while remaining as the Chairman of the board of directors. In a letter addressed to his staff, he expressed that he plans to take a step back and spend more time with the board to create mid- to long-term strategies and further develop the corporate structure to strengthen and promote the company’s culture.

Since taking over the reins of the company’s future growth and development, Chen, a trained data scientist and a prolific publisher on data mining has openly expressed his plans to steer PDD forward to connect with more consumers and groups.

According to Chen, at the time of PDD’s founding, online user behavior was undergoing a “paradigm shift” from the desktop internet to the mobile internet because of the smartphone. The desktop era produced technology giants and search companies like Amazon and Google that emphasized efficiency because people would allocate time during their day to browse the internet.

Now, the popularity of the smartphone and mobile internet have “freed people from that paradigm,” Chen said, but consumers are “still stuck with the utility-driven e-commerce model born of the desktop era” even though mobile payments and logistics were well-established.

Rising living standards also meant that more and more consumers were looking to meet not just their basic needs but were also seeking new enjoyable experiences both online and offline, Chen said.

“We didn’t see the virtual as separate from the physical world, and we felt that the virtual world could also offer fun and engaging experiences,” he said.

He also highlighted PDD’s unique user experience by providing customers with interactive and value-for-money deals. Among these is the company’s “team purchase” business model that allows users to lower down product prices by buying as a group or a team.

Still, acknowledging the changes brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, Chen said that they are currently studying and thinking of different ways on how they can best develop a business that is suited to the new era.

But despite this, one thing is certain to stay according to Chen: the signature fun and interactive experience that PDD has come to pioneer and develop. He also pointed out that value for money will continue to be the foundation and cornerstone of PDD’s plans and offerings in the future.

“We hope that through building up PDD, we can offer even more experiences that can bring the best of the digital economy to everyone,” Chen said. “We hope that it can help provide equal opportunities to both our users and sellers.”

When asked about the road ahead for PDD, Chen is highly optimistic about the company’s place and value in society. “In the future, there won’t be a distinction between online and offline as no business can do without technology. So how do we become a pioneer and leader in this new world is something that we ponder a lot on,” he added.

Company: Pinduoduo Inc.
Contact Person: Pinduoduo Corporate Affairs

A photo accompanying this announcement is available at

Pinduoduo CEO Chen Lei

Pinduoduo CEO Chen Lei
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