Shanghai-based e-commerce company Pinduoduo recorded more than RMB 270 billion (USD 42 billion) in agriculture-related gross merchandise volume (GMV) in 2020, more than doubling its 2019 total of RMB 136 billion, and exceeding its own expectation of RMB 250 billion in December, according to a press release on Tuesday.
Pinduoduo has yet to release its annual financial results for the fourth quarter and full year of 2020, but its latest earnings release shows that the company generated RMB 1.46 trillion (USD 214.7 billion) in total GMV in the twelve months ended September 30.
The company attributed the increased sales of agricultural produce, including vegetables, fruits, meat, milk, cereals, and edible oil, partly to the pandemic, which pushed consumers to embrace digital offerings.
In addition to selling farm goods via a traditional e-commerce delivery model, Pinduoduo has also launched grocery group-buying service Duoduo Maicai (Duoduo Grocery) in August 2020 to compete with a slew of internet companies including JD.com, Meituan, and Didi Chuxing.
This service is now available to residents in cities including Shenzhen and Shanghai, allowing users to order a wide variety of goods online and pick them up at a physical store nearby the next day.
The company, which actually began as a fruit retailer in 2015 but later evolved to be an all-around marketplace for consumer goods, has just been honored by the Chinese central government as a role model in the country’s anti-poverty efforts, along with its rival Alibaba.
Pinduoduo raised USD 6.1 billion in November 2020 to back investments in logistics infrastructure that is more suited to handling perishables and upstream agri-food technology that can help raise agricultural productivity and quality.
“Digital agriculture increases the efficiency of the food supply chain and safeguards food security at the same time,” said Pinduoduo CEO Chen Lei in the press release on Tuesday.
“We’re just at the beginning of the digital revolution in agriculture and are glad that we’re making progress every day,” he added.