Daily orders on Pinduoduo surpassed 100 million at their peak around the National Day holiday in October, cementing the platform's position as the country's biggest agricultural online marketplace.
A large part of the increase in orders was due to demand for agricultural products, according to Chen Lei, Chief Executive Officer of Pinduoduo. The company processes a daily average of more than 70 million parcels, accounting for a third of the national total, Chen told reporters after a recent poverty alleviation event.
Pinduoduo will increase its involvement in cold-chain and other agricultural-related logistics infrastructure and hopes to work with the logistics industry to design and standardize packaging for agricultural products, Chen said. This will help optimize the "first kilometer" of the farm supply chain.
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. The company, which turned five this month, is a member of the Nasdaq-100 Index and surpassed $100 billion in market capitalization earlier this year, the fastest-ever company to reach that milestone.
At a forum earlier this month to discuss how to improve agricultural sales, Chen pointed out that the main hindrances were the low level of digitization, unstable quality of agricultural products, the difficulty to standardize production, and the asymmetry in production and marketing information.
China's digital economy penetration has reached 36 percent, but the rate is only 8.2 percent in agriculture. There is a need to nurture "New Farmers" who understand agriculture and e-commerce to raise the digitization level, Chen said.
"The relevant departments need to put in more resources, the e-commerce platforms need to create dedicated posts to jointly build a model with the government and institutes of higher learning to train online sales talents," Chen told the forum.
Pinduoduo has recently pledged to train another 100,000 e-commerce merchants to boost farm sales through online channels. Many of these "New Farmers" are youths who have left their rural hometowns to work in cities. Through training courses held by Pinduoduo, they learn how to set up and manage e-commerce businesses.
In response to the standardization of agricultural products, Chen urged relevant departments to establish credible, unified classification and grading standards of farm products, to ensure that consumers could buy agrarian products that meet their expectations.