Chinese e-commerce platform Pinduoduo is testing a new wholesaling feature named Duoduo Pifa, which connects merchant buyers with manufacturers and wholesalers.

Why it matters: Expanding into enterprise services highlights Pinduoduo’s ambition to attract and retain business customers, an increasingly important component for its ecosystem.

  • The launch of Duoduo Pifa further fans its rivalry with Alibaba, which has been operating its own B2B wholesale site, 1688.com, since 1999.

Details: Pinduoduo recently launched a new service dubbed Duoduo Pifa, or Duoduo Wholesale, for merchants that procure goods for resale, according to a report from Chinese media outlet Jiemian.

  • The feature is still under development but has been opened for merchant applications.
  • Pinduoduo recently added to its merchant app a supply management function consisting of wholesale supply and direct shipping options.
  • For the direct shipping option, the wholesalers will provide shipping and after-sale services to consumers on behalf of the merchant.
  • The feature is free from commissions and promotion fees for now, local media reported.

Context: Alibaba and Pinduoduo are increasingly moving onto one another’s home turf.

  • Alibaba’s e-commerce marketplace Taobao is expanding its direct-to-customer selling platform for bargain-seeking consumers, Pinduoduo’s core user group.
  • To speed up offline expansion and increase supply chain efficiency, Pinduoduo invested in the household appliance and electronics retailer Gome Retail, similar to Alibaba’s partnership with Gome rival Suning.
  • Pinduoduo said it had around 585 million active buyers and 5.1 million active merchants in 2019.
  • One of Alibaba’s earliest business units, 1688.com is a top domestic wholesale marketplace in China, providing sourcing and online transaction services to merchant buyers.
  • As of March 31, 2020, 1688.com had approximately 900,000 paying members who use the service for additional services, such as premium data analytics and upgraded storefront management tools, as well as customer management services.

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.