Pinduoduo, a fast-growing Chinese e-commerce platform, has raised more than US$1 billion in its latest funding round, bringing its valuation to US$15 billion, Bloomberg reports, citing people familiar with the matter.
The startup’s valuation after the funding round is about 10 times the level just a year ago. Its investors include Sequoia Capital China and Tencent Holdings Ltd.
Shanghai-based Pinduoduo allows users to participate in group buying deals with their friends, mostly by using Tencent’s WeChat messaging service. It provides discounted deals in various segments ranging from food and cosmetics to toilet papers.
Founded by ex-Google engineer Colin Huang in September 2015, Pinduoduo offers cheaper deals by letting consumers buy directly from manufacturers, cutting out wholesalers as well as advertising and acquisition costs, Bloomberg said.
Pinduoduo allows users to recruit friends and buy items together at a discount through WeChat. The startup seeks to enhance the shopping experience by adding gaming elements to the app and giving out coupons and rewards.
The three-year-old e-commerce platform has recorded the gross merchandise value of over 100 billion yuan (US$15.8 billion) in 2017, a milestone which Alibaba’s e-e-commerce platform Taobao only achieved five years after its establishment, according to Chinese media.
The number of people using its mobile app grew to 200 million as of September 2017, double the number just a year before.
Tech media Technode said the app has already around 300 million users. Many of them are from lower-tier cities, Bloomberg said.
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