Duoduo Video, a vertical short video offering from Chinese e-commerce company Pinduoduo has reportedly recorded comparable watch time statistics to Tencent’s WeChat Channels, sparking a sudden uptick in attention from Chinese tech media. Local media outlet 36Kr said in a Wednesday report that the video section on Pinduoduo’s shopping app is seeing users spending about 30 minutes a day watching, a number that puts it roughly on a par with tech giant Tencent’s similar platform. 

Screenshots of Pinduoduo’s short videos. Credit: Pinduoduo

Why it matters: Pinduoduo’s use of short vertical videos is another example of Chinese online retailers’ increasing competition with content platforms such as Kuaishou and ByteDance’s Douyin, as the latter two ramp up in-app shopping functions. Alibaba’s Taobao shopping app also has an embedded content section called Guangguang, using a combination of photos, articles, and videos to attract more users. 

Details: Pinduoduo added the short video section to its app in February 2022, according to a report from Chinese media outlet Jiemian. Pinduoduo incentivizes users to watch more videos by giving out cash rewards, which users can withdraw directly to other digital wallets.

  • In a recent test, TechNode found Pinduoduo gives out significant cash rewards to newer users. Our reporter, a new user of the section, earned RMB 10 (about $1.5) after watching less than one minute of short videos. But the app only allowed the user to withdraw a small fraction of the earned reward (up to RMB 0.6) and encouraged them to log on more frequently to increase the withdrawal amount. 
  • Duoduo Video is now led by a person who worked for Douyin before joining Pinduoduo in around 2021, the 36Kr report said. Pinduoduo is committed to investing in the business, not expecting commercial results in the short term, the report said, citing a source close to Pinduoduo.

Context: As China enters a relatively slower growth period, competition among the country’s top tech companies is heating up, with more cross-sector rivalry. For example, ByteDance’s Douyin, the equivalent of TikTok in China, has recently increased its investment in offering on-demand services, a core business offering of the life services giant Meituan. 

  • Known for offering generous discounts and ultra-low prices, Pinduoduo saw great growth last year, with revenue up 65.1% year-on-year to RMB 35.5 million in the third quarter of 2022. But the company is facing more challenges from established online retailers such as JD and Alibaba. JD is set to launch a subsidy program worth billions of RMB and applicable to almost all items sold on its platform. Pinduoduo launched a subsidy program in 2019. 
  • Taobao Deals, Taobao’s budget shopping platform, is set to form 50 offline service spots in industrial cities across China to help boost supply of quality products in nearly 900 categories, local media outlet 21Jingji reported on Feb. 27.
Cheyenne Dong

Cheyenne Dong

Cheyenne Dong is a tech reporter now based in Shanghai. She covers e-commerce and retail, blockchain, and Web3. Connect with her via e-mail: cheyenne.dong[a]technode.com.