Included in social e-commerce company Pinduoduo’s annual report released Wednesday was a letter from its founder and CEO Huang Zheng which sought to reassure shareholders about the company’s recent troubles including continuing allegations of peddling counterfeit goods.

Pinduoduo, Huang said, is like “when Yao Ming just started in elementary school. He might have been quite tall, but was nevertheless only an elementary school student,” referring to the platform’s outsize success despite only being four years old.

The company, Huang added, like China’s most famous professional basketball player, “needs adequate nutrition, appropriate training, and life experiences” as it contends with getting “pushed onto the court to compete head-to-head with adult players.”

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Jill Shen

Jill Shen is Shanghai-based technology reporter. She covers Chinese mobility, autonomous vehicles, and electric cars. Connect with her via e-mail: jill.shen@technode.com or Twitter: @yushan_shen