Chinese social e-commerce site Pinduoduo said that the new livestream feature on its platform is a mere plug-in added as a concession for its sellers, according to a statement on Thursday.

Why it matters: The company recently began testing livestream and ticket-booking features on its platform, triggering widespread media attention, particularly because of the number of domestic competitors that already use the tools.

  • E-commerce livestreams have become a major revenue driver on Chinese online marketplaces. Gross merchandise volume (GMV) earned through Alibaba’s livestreaming unit Taobao Live jumped 400% year on year to RMB 100 billion ($14 billion) in 2018.
  • In addition, e-commerce platform Xiaohongshu rolled out livestreams this week after six months of testing.

Details: Pinduoduo said in its statement that it added the livestream and ticket-booking plug-ins in response to merchant and consumer demand.

  • Sun Jing, a key opinion leader (KOL) using the nickname “Xiaoxiaobao Mama,” kicked off livestreams on the platform with a session on Nov. 27, engaging with more than 50,0000 shoppers during peak viewership.
  • While rivals use livestreams to drive growth, Pinduoduo is testing livestreams to help merchants better manage their private traffic, the company said.
  • Pinduoduo introduced a train ticket-booking plug-in on its app two months ago.
  • However, the company said that there are no plans to launch fully integrated livestream and train ticket-booking channels.

“As a new consumer e-commerce platform, Pinduoduo is not going to clone or copy the existing business scenarios and models, but will satisfy the diversified demands of consumers.” 

—Pinduoduo in a statement on Thursday

Context: As of the third quarter of this year, Pinduoduo has 536 million total users, a massive base for new business expansion.

Pinduoduo may soon add livestreams to boost growth

Emma Lee (Li Xin) was TechNode's e-commerce and new retail reporter until June 2022, when she moved to Sixth Tone to cover technology and consumption. Get in touch with her via or Twitter.

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