Name of merchant: Wu Adong
Name of company: Suikang
Wu Adong, 45, spent more than 20 years in the IT industry selling computer accessories. He reached the position of vice president in a Taiwanese tech company before taking early retirement in 2018. But he soon realized he was not ready to call it a day and decided to embark on a second career, this time starting his own business selling corn online.
Wu met an experienced businessman who headed a packaged corn company with hundreds of millions of yuan in annual sales. But this businessman had no idea how to expand the business online, selling only through wholesale channels to businesses like universities, supermarkets and convenience stores.
They struck an agreement for Wu to set up a company and handle the corn producer’s online business. Their expectations were low as they had failed in their previous e-commerce forays. The target was to sell 500,000 yuan of goods online a year.
The going was slow initially as Wu invested over a million yuan of his own money to launch the business on several traditional e-commerce platforms. Employees started to leave when they did not see a promising future. Wu didn’t quit but found new opportunities on Pinduoduo.
In 2019, Wu participated in Pinduoduo’s "Duoduo Orchard" program, an in-app game that integrated agricultural produce sales with poverty alleviation for rural growers.
"From an executive with millions of marketing budget to getting your hands dirty and spending most of your own money for a new venture that you don’t know much about, frankly speaking, it was a rather big change for me at the beginning," Wu said of his experience.
With the advantage of low price and high quality, direct selling model and strong supply chain capacity, Suikang corn took off in sales on Pinduoduo.
During the COVID-19 pandemic when many offline agriculture businesses took a huge hit, Wu was especially thankful for having a strong e-commerce channel and will continue to achieve more supply chain upgrade together with Pinduoduo.
Wu said the company sold over 70 million yuan of ready-to-eat corn on Pinduoduo in 2020 and is expecting sales of at least 100 million yuan in 2021.
Suikang spent 400,000 yuan last year on just the packaging tape for the delivery cartons. Not bad for a Chinese corn brand with almost no name recognition online and an initial sales target of 500,000 yuan a year.