Chinese omnichannel retailer Suning.com is reportedly planning to launch a new shopping app targeting bargain-seeking consumers by the end of May, taking aim at e-commerce upstart Pinduoduo.

Why it matters: Suning’s entry to the budget shopping market will further fan the contentious competition in the sector, which already seen fierce rivals like Pinduoduo and Alibaba.

  • Taobao Special Offer Edition app, Alibaba’s Pinduoduo clone, topped the rankings for the most-downloaded free app on Apple’s China App Store in March.
  • Rival Gome Retail entered a strategic partnership with Pinduoduo this week with plans to capitalize on the later’s huge user base and technological capabilities. The move draws a comparison between the tie-up between Suning and Alibaba.

Details: Chinese media Jiemian reports that Suning is launching a Pinduoduo clone this May as a core move for the year to build up its online shopping ecosystem, citing people with knowledge of the matter.

  • The Nanjing-based company is recruiting 100 core merchants since April 23, says the source.
  • The report says it has got confirmation from Suning, which disclosed that the new project is dubbed as Yizhimai. It will be overseen by Zhang Kui, manager of the company’s group-buying division Suning Pingou.
  • The app is expected to be launched around May 20.
  • The company denied plans to launch a PDD clone in a written email to TechNode, saying that it is only a rumor.

Context: Suning has been pushing its offline expansion to various segments including convenience stores, supermarkets, and department stores.

Amid a series of offline expansions, Suning acquired 80% equity interest in the Carrefour China in June 2019.

The company has been selling its shares in Alibaba since 2018 along with hefty spending for omnichannel expansions.

Update: The story is updated on April 27 to include the company’s denial of the rumor.

Emma Lee

Emma Lee is Shanghai-based tech writer, covering startups and tech happenings in China and Asia in general. We are looking for stories related to tech and China. Reach her at lixin@technode.com.