PDD in recent years has used promotions to grab market share from more established Chinese rivals including Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and JD.com Inc. In an attempt to replicate that success abroad, it created Temu, which was introduced with much fanfare during this year’s Super Bowl.
Since it launched last year, Temu has exploded into one of the top US apps, targeting cash-strapped Americans with cheap unbranded products shipped directly from Guangzhou, China. In just seven months, the app has been downloaded 50 million times.
The roll-out hasn’t been without hiccups. Temu is burning through money and squeezing its suppliers in a bid to take on Amazon.com Inc. It’s also involved in lawsuits with rival Shein over antitrust matters.
The question Temu is exploring is where the interchange between price and convenience resides. Amazon delivers convenience better than anyone else and charges a premium. Target, Wal-Mart, or Costco supply cheaper products, but nowhere near the same level of convenience. Temu supplies bargain basement prices that appear too good to be true. It does not have in-country fulfilment centres, so convenience is not measurable, and returns will inevitably be problematic.Click HERE to subscribe to Fuller Treacy Money Back to top