How an apple farmer’s son grew the family business through e-commerce

How an apple farmer’s son grew the family business through e-commerce

Staff Writer
Staff Writer
Pinduoduo Content Team
December 2, 2020

Yu Kai graduated from a Beijing university and furthered his studies overseas in Liverpool. But his heart is in China's rural hinterland.

``Although I have been to many big cities, I really like the rural life of a farmer," said Yu. "Also, my father is also old, and I need to come back to help him. But I want to take over in a new way."

Three years ago, Yu Kai made his wish known to his father, Yu Fangye, who is one of Yantai's biggest apple exporters and the man behind ``Fangye Fruits and Vegetables" - a well-known fruit brand in Indonesia, Malaysia and other Southeast Asian markets that almost 30 years to build.

Read: Pinduoduo invests in smart agriculture and caters to online grocery shopping boom

Upon returning to China in 2018, Yu Kai chose to open an online store on Pinduoduo, impressed by its speed of development and ability to drive high-volume sales of agricultural products. ``In the beginning, I didn't understand online store operations at all," he said. ``Pinduoduo not only provides a platform, but also helps us to learn all the time."

Yu has come a long way since the early days of his online store, when he sold only one or two orders in four or five days. ``My father didn't place much value on this little business at all," said Yu, who persevered and continued to pay attention to customer service. He would go as far as to proactively ask his customers whether the quality and service were up to their standards.

Today, his online store has 180,000 followers, and he ships 40,000 to 50,000 orders a day, far exceeding his father's total sales volume.

Pinduoduo is the largest e-commerce platform for agricultural products in China. Besides increasing the market access for farmers by connecting growers to consumers through its online marketplace, the company is also investing in agritech and analytics systems hat can help growers increase their productivity as well as planting decisions.

Read: Pinduoduo's smart agriculture competition offers glimpse of "one-click planting" future

Yu has benefited from participating in Pinduoduo programs such as its "10 Billion" campaign to encourage businesses with high-quality agricultural product supply chains to develop on the platform. Unlike his father, who concentrated on exporting to foreign markets, the junior Yu has uncovered tremendous demand by Chinese consumers for top-quality apples that were sold only overseas until recent years.

Dividing the apples in four grades, Yu only sells the top two export-grade apples on the Pinduoduo platform. He also sacrifices the profit margin by keeping prices low and going for volume.

Through e-commerce, Yu has successfully grown the family business to a much larger scale, generating wealth for his family and achieving his aspirations. It has also created more jobs for the rural community. To fulfill the orders online, he has more than 200 workers packing in one workshop, with supplies of packing material from three factories and deployment of over a dozen large trucks daily.

"I want to be first-generation e-commerce wealth, not traditional second-generation fruit business wealth," he said.