Pinduoduo, the fastest growing Chinese social e-commerce platform, has launched the cross-border project, Duoduo International. The Tencent-backed firm has been adding shops on the website, people familiar with the matter told Chinese e-commerce information site Ebrun.
According to the report, Duoduo International is likely to be integrated into the Pinduoduo's app soon. Sources confirmed to Chinese news portal DoNews that Duoduo International has been a project in the making and not entirely new.
The sign-up page reads “Welcome to Duoduo International! Open shops at RMB 0 cost for cross-border retailing”. Shop registration is done on an invitation basis. Pinduoduo staff will send an invitation code and verify the retailers who have applied to set shops on the platform. The businesses could be a marketplace, flagship store or a franchise.
Nestle, Unilever, Swiss, Biostime and flagship stores including Japan’s Wandougongzhu, Korean Bolome and Thailand retailer TMG (The Mall Group) have reportedly signed up on the platform.
Pinduoduo expressed its interest in cross-border business in November 2018, when vice president Li Yuan announced Pinduoduo’s global expansion plan at the first edition of China International Import Expo. Li said Pinduoduo had plans to invite 500,000 small and medium overseas businesses to register, mainly from South East Asia, Japan, but also Europe and America, on its platform.
“The starting point of the international scheme is to promote the connectivity between overseas retailers and Chinese consumers, decreasing the intermediary circulation costs,” said Li Yuan, “We hope that, in the future, more overseas fresh groceries can be directly sent to Chinese consumers’ dining table.”
The overture to the crossborder play happened last year when Pinduoduo coordinated the cross-border system in pilot cities like Shenzheng, Shanghai, Zhengzhou, Ningbo, Chongqing and Hangzhou.
Pinduoduo will rival established players like Alibaba’s Taobao and Tmall in the cross-border space. More players are also making inroads into the domain. In 2o18, JD tied up with Vipshop, a Chinese e-commerce website specialising in global shopping, to cash in on the cross-border commerce opportunity. Rumors were rife that the industry leader, Kaola - owned by NetEase- is interested in acquiring Amazon’s China unit. The sector is buzzing with activity.
Apart from the e-commerce giants, social e-commerce players have also shown interest in cross-border e-commerce. Onion launched Onion OMALL in 2015, a cross-border e-commerce platform specialising in social retailing. Yunji Global, launched in 2016 by social e-commerce site Yunji, has now partnered with Top Ideal, a cross-border e-commerce supply chain.