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.
Colin Huang's ascent is one for the history books: In just six months, his fortune swelled by $25 billion -- one of the biggest gains among the world's richest people. His Pinduoduo Inc., a Groupon-like shopping app he founded in 2015, has become China's third-largest e-commerce platform, with a market value of more than $100 billion. In the first quarter, as the coronavirus pandemic caused most of the nation's economy to grind to a halt, PDD's active users surged 68 percent and revenue jumped 44 percent, the company said in May. Now Huang, who has overseen the firm as its American depositary receipts have more than quadrupled in less than two years, has stepped down as chief executive officer. At one point, his net worth climbed as high as $45 billion, placing him just behind China's wealthiest people -- Tencent Holdings Ltd.'s Pony Ma and Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.'s Jack Ma -- on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
China's social e-commerce startup Pinduoduo broke away from the pack with its successful IPO this week in New York, raising $1.6 billion and valuing the company at nearly $30 billion. Pinduoduo, best known of the newly public Chinese tech companies, was one of three that went public in a frenzy of IPO action this past Thursday in New York -- and in the midst of a U.S.-China trade war and growing restrictions on Chinese investment in the U.S. The two other new publicly traded Chinese companies in New York are Chinese unicorn and mobile data provider Jiguang and automotive transaction service platform Cango. Interestingly, both Pinduoduo and Cango have Tencent as backers. I'll write about the two lesser known ones of the trio since so much info is already out there about the three-year-old Pinduoduo, seen as Alibaba's biggest rival. And the others are almost as interesting as Pinduoduo, which has been likened to Groupon meets Dollar Store.
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.
But in 2018, things stopped being normal. Across his industry, the US-China trade war had begun to strain apparel makers, one of China's manufacturing sectors with the largest reliance on export sales. Orders that had been placed and made in advance were being delayed up to three months for shipping, hitting Zhu's profits and clogging up his storage space with unsaleable inventory. Then, before his business had fully recovered, covid-19 ripped through the world. Exports tanked, saddling Zhu with a stream of order cancellations worth an estimated $4 to $5 million.