Chinese social e-commerce startup Pinduoduo (PDD) is said to have raised close to $3 billion in a new funding round led by Tencent Holdings, with the participation of Sequoia Capital, according to 36Kr report (in Chinese). The new investment puts PDD’s valuation at approximately $15 billion. According to the 36Kr article, an investor familiar with the deal said the investment may be less than the rumored $3 billion. Technode has reached out to PDD for comment but did not receive a reply before publishing.
Founded in 2015, PDD has quickly become one of the fastest growing e-commerce unicorns in China and has accumulated around 300 million users on its app since its release. In 2017, the three-year-old e-commerce startup’s gross merchandise volume (GMV) exceeded RMB 100 billion – a milestone that took Taobao five years and JD 10 years to reach.
Tencent Holdings was among the investors for PDD’s B funding round back in 2016. PDD holds a strategic importance for Tencent, who has been expressing interest in expanding into online retail. PDD has been able to expand in China’s fiercely competitive online retail sector because it has successfully targeted the low-income segment from smaller cities and towns.