Xiao Huaidong, a native of Pujiang County, Sichuan Province, has always been a gifted salesperson. After graduating with a degree in veterinary science, he became a technical sales representative of an animal medicine maker. Later, he started his own business as a franchisee of a well-known furniture brand. While the industries were different, he did well in both stints.
In 2013, he became a father for the first time and decided to return to Sichuan. There he set sights on starting a business selling local agricultural produce -- citrus and kiwifruits.
Soon after Xiao’s fruit business started, Pinduoduo, now China’s largest agricultural e-commerce platform, emerged as a rising marketplace for people in smaller cities and rural areas.
Xiao was impressed by Pinduoduo’s innovative team purchase model and became one of the earliest vendors on the platform. Today, he is one of its largest fruit vendors, with an expected annual sales of 150 million yuan ($23 million).
"We belong to the earliest group of merchants who joined Pinduoduo and grew together with the platform," Xiao said, "At that time, we did not expect the sales volume to rise so fast."
As sales continued to expand, Xiao realized the bottleneck for further growth would be the supply chain. After examining the local logistics ecosystem, Xiao decided to build his own fresh e-commerce logistics center to combine the warehouse and logistics functions, allowing one-stop handling of procurement, refrigeration, sorting, packing and distribution.
The model greatly eliminated the intermediate distribution costs and time, attracting other local fruit vendors to use his service, Xiao said.
“It takes three hours at the very earliest to complete from picking to delivery,” he said. “The picking process is more time-consuming. After the fruit is shipped to the warehouse, from packing to deliver it actually takes only five minutes.”
Xiao's success is also inseparable from the unique natural conditions of his hometown. Pujiang County boasts a national-level modern agricultural industrial park with 180,000 mu (about 3,000 acres) of citrus and kiwifruit orchards. It is also known as the "agricultural treasure basin" in Sichuan.
“With the construction of Pujiang National Modern Agricultural Industrial Park, automation and technologies are constantly improving, so I believe that the timeliness of direct delivery from the original production base will be further enhanced," he said.