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.
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.
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.
The IPO also boosted the value of stakes held by Tiger Global Management LLC, Hillhouse Capital Group and a few other firms several times over, to more than $1 billion each, according to calculations based on filings. Even recent backers have made large paper profits from Meituan, whose app is used by hundreds of millions of people in China to order meals online, post restaurant reviews and buy movie tickets. An investment about a year ago by Booking Holdings Inc., the company formerly known as Priceline, jumped more than 50% to roughly $700 million as of Thursday, based on the Beijing-based company's now $51.5 billion market valuation. The windfalls show there are still outsize returns to be made in China's internet boom, despite this year's downturn in markets in Asia and the tumbling share prices of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., Tencent Holdings Ltd., Baidu Inc. and other Chinese technology majors. Meituan itself has also fallen about 3% from its IPO price, while Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi Corp., which went public in July, is down 6%.