On the eve of its fifth anniversary of founding, Pinduoduo's chairman and chief executive officer reiterated the company's commitment to invest in agriculture and work with like-minded partners to improve consumer experience.
"We are willing to make a lot of heavy investment, pursue in-depth innovation, and solidly reform our traditional agricultural industry," Colin Huang, chairman of Pinduoduo, said in an internal speech to employees on Oct. 8. The company was founded on Oct. 10, 2015.
He warned that the online grocery business is hard, requires years of unremitting effort, and that there will be no overnight success or praise. Yet, it is a good business because it is highly aligned with Pinduoduo's long-term goal to improve farmers' lot and solve consumer needs.
"We should conform to the changes in consumers' living habits and truly solve their daily problems, so as to benefit them and improve their quality of life. Whether we make money or not, it is in line with our core mission of 'creating value for consumers'," Huang said. He predicted that the grocery business will be a "touchstone" for Pinduoduo.
Chen Lei, who took over as Chief Executive Officer in July, said in an open letter to partners that Pinduoduo will strive to be the e-commerce platform that most touches the daily lives of ordinary people in China.
"The company will continue to create benefits for consumers in terms of “value-for-money” products and let consumers enjoy a fun shopping experience, while observing and adapting to changes in the pace of life for ordinary Chinese, nurturing and developing new businesses and models," Chen said in the letter.
Since its founding in 2015, Pinduoduo has grown rapidly to become the largest agricultural e-commerce platform in China and No. 2 platform overall with close to 700 million users. It is a member of the Nasdaq-100 Index and its market capitalization surpassed $100 billion earlier this year.
The company has pioneered the concept of the "team purchase," where groups of like-minded consumers can band together to buy products at a lower price. Pinduoduo also led the way in developing a mobile-first browsing-based online shopping experience that is more attuned to the habits of mobile Internet users.
Still, being young by China's internet standards means Pinduoduo's "arms are still weak and its experience imperfect," said Chen.
Summarizing Pinduoduo's achievements over the past five years, Chen noted that more brands are working with the company to design and manufacture more value-for-money products. More contract manufacturers have gained direct access to consumers, who can now enjoy using local brands. Pinduoduo has also built a new agricultural logistics eco-system that connected the farmer in the field to the white-collar worker in the cities, he said.
Chen reiterated Pinduoduo's commitment to a "more open path" of e-commerce development, rejecting the monopolistic practices of a small number of platforms.
"Consumers increasingly hope to have more choices instead of being trapped in any single system," Chen said. "In the forest of the Internet, a few big trees can no longer block all the sunlight. Many new enterprises like Pinduoduo are scrambling to grow."
Pinduoduo will continue to invest in areas such as its "10-billion" subsidy program, New Brand plan and online agricultural product sales, Chen said. The company will invest and support like-minded partners with traffic, data and technical assistance.
"I always believe that it is ordinary consumers in China that make enterprises, and not a few large enterprises that rely on monopoly status to transform consumers. Therefore, we hope to collaborate with partners who stand together with consumers and meet their daily needs," Chen said.