The Chinese e-commerce scene is dominated by a few big names, such as Tmall, Jingdong and WeChat. Sometimes it feels like it’s impossible to come in between these giants; but there are always exceptions.
Earlier we wrote about Xiao Hong Shu: a social media app that quickly overtook the Chinese e-commerce scene for mostly fashion and beauty products. Today we will take a look at another newcomer that made a huge impact on the e-commerce landscape in China: Pin Duo Duo.
China is widely known in the West for their cheap products; a result of the relatively cheap labor rates in the country. In the country itself, however, it’s only natural that the prices that we deem ‘cheap’ are seen as ‘normal’ for the average Chinese consumer. What happens if you go even below this standard?
The rise of Pin Duo Duo
Colin Huang asked himself this question in 2015. The result was Pin Duo Duo, an e-commerce platform focused on cheap goods even for China’s standards. The result was two-fold: a lot of consumers associate the platform with low quality and fake products. This resulted in people actively avoiding the platform and spreading their negativity about Pin Duo Duo.
Consumers experience a boost in self-image and confidence when they purchase luxury goods. In other words, purchasing from Pin Duo Duo is associated with a decrease in status. However, China still contains a huge population of people with a low income. This demographic began to be attracted to the new platform. As a result, the brand image, in spite of the negativity, has grown into a strength for the platform.
Pin Duo Duo has always maintained a strong sense of self-awareness, as they refused to give in to the negativity. Their idea was simple: if you don’t like our products, then don’t buy them. Hence, they always carry the association with ‘cheap’ products with pride, without hiding from their image with tricks or lies. This resulted in big names in the Chinese internet industry speaking out positively about the platform; their pride and self-awareness became a strength. Enough to overtake Jingdong as the number 2 e-commerce platform in China.
Pin Duo Duo is one of many examples of how competitive the biggest e-commerce market in the world is. Within 3 years, the platform climbed to the same position as e-commerce giants as JingDong and Tmall. This is a testament to how rapidly changing the Chinese consumer market is, compared to the Western market; without the proper knowledge and experience it’s basically impossible to maintain a sustainable strategy with competition coming from every side, when you least expect it.