Amazon has had quite a turbulent run in China, entering the country in 2004 through the acquisition of Chinese online book retailer Joyo, and then struggling for dominance against local titans Alibaba and JD for over a decade only to admit defeat by opening an online store on the Alibaba-owned marketplace Tmall in 2015. The remains of the company’s e-commerce business in China kept convulsing for another four years until Amazon made an agonizing decision to exit the market in April of 2019. However, a mere half-year later, Amazon is back with plans to open another online store on Pinduoduo, the latest e-commerce disruptor, challenging the industry’s status quo with year-round discounts, group buying and a shrewd focus on China’s underrepresented lower tier cities.
The company’s Pinduoduo store is expected to be launched on November 25, according to Reuters. It will function essentially as a pop-up boutique with a selection of roughly 1,000 foreign products that will operate until the end of December. Amazon is still available in China as a marketplace for overseas merchants selling goods from abroad to Chinese consumers. The company’s April exit affected mainly domestic merchants who Amazon had a hard time attracting to the platform.
“We look forward to enabling customers to enjoy cross-border shopping through this store, in addition to more deals and tens of millions of products available on z.cn,” said an Amazon representative in an official statement.
Amazon’s choice of Pinduoduo as their latest Chinese partner is both a token of respect to the four-year-old company and a vivid proof of its growing influence in the country. Pinduoduo surpassed JD.com in October as the fourth largest internet in China, having previously outpaced Baidu. According to the company’s latest financial results for the third quarter of 2019, Pinduoduo’s Gross Merchandise Volume increased 144% year on year with total revenues growing 123% to roughly $1.1 billion. Pinduoduo’s founder, Colin Huang, was also a recent entry into China’s growing ranks of billionaires, with a net worth of around $17 billion.