Pinduoduo has tied up with BGI, a leading life science company, to offer coronavirus testing to individuals and companies as China steps up efforts to reopen its economy.
Consumers and businesses will be able to book the nucleic acid test for COVID-19 through PDD’s app for between 179 yuan (US$25) to 199 yuan after subsidies by the Nasdaq-listed e-commerce company.
The service will first be available in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Wuhan, Chengdu, Tianjin, Nanjing, Chongqing and Qingdao, with plans to expand to 50 cities in all, according to the company.
With search for a vaccine still underway, mass testing is increasingly being seen as the key to safely reopen economies around the world. With more evidence that some infected persons may not show symptoms, testing will allow businesses to ensure that the coronavirus is not inadvertently introduced into the workplace or other public spaces after the lifting or relaxation of social distancing measures.
China began lifting stay-at-home restrictions on most of its cities last month after bringing down the cases of new COVID-19 infections. With businesses reopening and consumers being encouraged to resume normal activities, health authorities are working to guard against a second wave of infections from individuals returning from abroad.
PDD’s tie-up with BGI follows similar initiatives by Alibaba and JD to offer booking services for COVID-19 tests. For BGI, this is the first time that it has set up a flagship store on an e-commerce platform. To date, BGI has manufactured more than 70 million test kits for the coronavirus and completed 580,000 tests in China.