Pinduoduo, the third-largest ecommerce website in China after Alibaba and JD.com, is facing class-action lawsuits in the US following recent media reports that it has been selling fakes and knock-offs over the platform resulted in share tumbles. Six law firms, including Rosen Law Firm, Pomerantz LLP, Law Offices of Howard G. Smith, Faruqi & Faruqi LLP, The Schall Law Firm, and Bronstein, Gewirtz & Grossman LLC, are looking to file class-action lawsuits on behalf of individual investors who bought Pinduoduo shares, according to a Sina news report on Saturday. Pinduoduo has faced a flood of media reports in China since its initial public offering (IPO) in New York claiming that the platform has been actively selling low-price knock-offs with a high resemblance to brand names of well-known products. Law Offices of Howard G. Smith said on its website that it believes Pinduoduo and certain executives violated federal law, which specifically misled investors regarding its financial condition. Pomerantz LLP said it's investigating concerns whether Pinduoduo and its officers and/or directors have engaged in securities fraud or other unlawful business practices.
Pinduoduo, the third-largest ecommerce website after Alibaba and JD.com in China, has filed for an initial public offering in the US to seek as much as $1 billion on Friday, in a move that surprised the market as the company was established less than three years ago. Founded in September 2015 by a former Google software engineer Colin Huang, the Shanghai-based company is known for its Groupon-like business model, which encourages consumers to shop for similar daily necessities with friends and other netizens in order to receive big discounts on prices, as mechanizers are able to offer cheaper prices due to the large quantities. Underwriters of Pinduoduo's US listing include UBS, Goldman Sachs, and CICC, but the company is yet to determine the stock exchange that will host its initial public offering, according to a Sina news report on July 1. Revenue of Pinduoduo mainly comes from online advertisements and trade commissions. Since its inception, revenue has grown at a high rate, as have losses, according to the report.
Kong Xiaohua, a middle-aged history teacher in a small town near the border with Russia, is among the online world's most sought-after users right now. Going after users like her marks the Chinese internet's race to go low: lower income, lower-tier cities and lower internet-service penetration. Ms. Kong shopped online for the first time last year. Using a social commerce app called Pinduoduo, she's bought clothes and household products such as adhesive wall hooks. She also started spending a lot of time on Qutoutiao, a news app that runs content based mostly around relationships, cheap comedy and sensational social news.
That is expected to rise next year, according to bankers and fund managers who follow the IPO market. In 2019 some of the hottest names among the tech unicorns, including Uber Technologies Inc., Lyft Inc. and Slack Technologies Inc. are considering IPOs. Also widely expected: many lesser-known software companies that tout private valuations between $1 billion and $5 billion. These less commercially recognizable companies have made up many of the 2018 unicorns, and for that reason haven't gotten as much attention as higher-profile firms, according to some analysts. "These are stories people don't know well because they're not an app on your phone," said David Ethridge, U.S. IPO services leader at PwC. "But there's a very steady pace, and there's been a strong IPO market that's supported this." "The question is, 'What about 2019?' and that will take some guts and courage, but I think a lot of companies will make the decision to go public even with the difficult market," he added.
The price of competing with e-commerce giants Alibaba and JD.com is immense. That's evidenced by challenger Pinduoduo, commonly known as PDD, which is raising more than $1 billion in fresh capital just six months after it went public. The company announced plans to sell 37 million shares in a move that will raise over $1 billion, going potentially as high as $1.25 billion if underwriters exercise their full share purchase option. The secondary event will also see a number of existing backers sell a portion of their stock, those sellers including Sequoia China, Lightspeed China and Banyan, according to a filing. PDD went public in July when it raised $1.6 billion through a Nasdaq listing.