Pinduoduo Inc. became the largest online marketplace in China last year after amassing 788 million customers, or more than the population of Europe.
The Nasdaq-listed company developed an “Internet + Agriculture” initiative to help facilitate direct sales between small-scale farmers and consumers. By making recommendations to consumers based on their shopping preferences, the platform is able to aggregate demand and generate large order volumes for the farmer merchants.
This helps the farmers to reduce their dependence on wholesale distributors and makes it possible for them to sell directly to consumers, improving overall supply chain efficiency and reducing cost.
“Through such an initiative, consumers end up getting fresher and safer products for lower prices, while farmers earn more, which can be reinvested in their farming practices and technology to further improve production efficiency and quality,” Pinduoduo said in its annual 20-F filing.
Pinduoduo has amassed almost 800 million customers in record time, making it one of the fastest-growing consumer internet companies in the world. The company has described its model as “Costco + Disney,” in reference to the combination of value-for-money offerings and entertainment. It is unique among other large internet companies to make digitising the agriculture industry a core, strategic priority.
The company works with local governments and academia to facilitate modernisation of farming practices and improve production efficiency in rural China through its “Duo Duo Farm” initiative. Pinduoduo also funds research and invests in technology in agriculture with the objective of improving food production, quality control and food safety.
In August 2020, Pinduoduo started Duo Duo Grocery, a next-day grocery pick-up service that allows users to order groceries and related products online and collect goods the next day at nearby designated pickup points.
To support its goal of becoming the world’s biggest grocer, Pinduoduo is investing to build an agriculture-focused logistics infrastructure that can ensure quality, reduce food waste, and cut down delivery time. Reducing food spoilage is also in line with its commitment to combat climate change, as global food loss accounts for about 8 per cent of total greenhouse gas emissions.
The company is actively evaluating global investment opportunities in areas including alternative proteins, food safety and precision farming as part of its efforts to promote the adoption of technology in the agriculture and food system.