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Temu’s Low-Key E-Commerce Debut Belies Strengths in Sourcing

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Temu may look like just another online marketplace when it launched in the US in early September, but the amount of media coverage that it attracted underlined its e-commerce pedigree.

Temu and Pinduoduo are sister companies under Nasdaq-listed PDD. Pinduoduo is known for using just five-and-a-half years to overtake Jack Ma’s Alibaba in the number of active buyers. It had 881.9 million users and, more than 11.5 million merchants, and recorded US$15 billion in revenue and US$3.8 billion in profit for the 12 months ended June 2022. Listed since July 2018, its market capitalization surpassed US$200 billion at one point.

Temu will be able to tap into PDD’s sophisticated ecosystem of merchants, manufacturers and logistics partners, giving it an invaluable advantage in terms of securing the best terms and widest selection of products.

“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.”

A check of Temu’s website showed it had 15 product categories, namely 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. According to its product pages, the company will offset carbon emissions from every delivery.

“A wide product catalog, with affordable prices, means more shoppers,” Jacob Cooke, CEO of WPIC, an e-commerce tech and marketing firm, said on Twitter. “What I’m most excited to see is if PDD can develop an innovative way for US consumers to shop on Temu.”