When Temu launched its e-commerce website in the US in early September, the online marketplace looked like another run-of-the-mill offering. The voluminous media coverage that accompanied the low-profile debut showed otherwise.
For Temu is a sister company of Pinduoduo, the e-commerce platform famous for using just five-and-a-half years to overtake Jack Ma’s Alibaba in the number of active buyers.
Both Temu and Pinduoduo operate under Nasdaq-listed PDD. As of March 2022, PDD had 881.9 million users and more than 11.5 million merchants. It had US$15 billion in revenue and US$3.8 billion in profit for the 12 months ended June 2022. Listed on the Nasdaq since July 2018, PDD’s market capitalization surpassed US$200 billion at one point.
Temu also has an invaluable asset at its disposal – a vast network of merchants and manufacturers built up by PDD that can offer users industry-leading value and unmatched breadth of selection. PDD’s network of suppliers and logistics partners are known for being able to respond rapidly to changes in consumer behavior and market trends.
“We are fortunate to have access to deep expertise in product sourcing and execution through our sister company,” a Temu spokesperson said in a release. “This stands us in good stead to deliver an unparalleled shopping experience to our customers.”
Just two weeks into the launch, Temu has 15 product categories spanning home and garden, men’s and women’s clothing, jewelry and accessories, beauty and health, electronics, kids’ fashion, shoes and bags, pet supplies, baby products, sports and outdoors, underwear and sleepwear, office and industrial products, and automotive and motorcycle.
For the launch period, Temu is offering sitewide discounts and free shipping. The company will also offset carbon emissions from every delivery, according to its product pages.
Temu could have an advantage due to “existing relationships with low-cost manufacturers” that have yet to expand to the US, said Jacob Cooke, CEO of WPIC, an e-commerce tech and marketing firm, in an interview with CNBC. Like any new sites, Temu’s main challenges will be cultivating trust and awareness among consumers, he said.