Seafood to feature in Pinduoduo's CNY 3 billion Chinese New Year sales push

The Pinduoduo logo on a cell phone.

Imported seafood could be in for a bumper Chinese New Year thanks to a huge marketing campaign from online retailer Pinduoduo.

The Shanghai-based company told media at a launch ceremony it is spending CNY 3 billion (USD 420 million, EUR 390 million) on advertising and discounts, including on seafood products that are typically favored gifts during the Chinese New Year festival, which falls on 10 February this year.

Argentine red shrimp, Norwegian “Arctic” cod, and Irish brown crab are among the seafood items the company is promoting. Irish crab was allowed to reenter the Chinese market in 2023 after a long period of heavy scrutiny due to issues over claims from Chinese authorities of excess cadmium levels in the product.

One of its best-selling items, however, has been a domestic product: freshwater crabs from Xinjiang a region in far western China. Exemplifying the brand's far reach across the country, Pinduoduo also signed a deal with the municipal government of Qingdao in 2020 to operate an e-commerce streaming studio, subsidized by Qingdao’s government, to promote local seafood brands and products.

Pinduoduo competes against other platforms by offering “red envelopes,” or vouchers, which customers use as discounts on their purchases. In China, Pinduoduo’s “social e-commerce” model of group buying has helped it leapfrog rivals such as and Tmall by encouraging users to share its offers with their social media friends.

The company has aligned itself with Chinese government policy priorities by connecting urban markets with rural food producers and promoting agricultural produce and seafood raised via aquaculture to China’s urban consumers.

Pinduoduo has also increasingly branched into Western markets, where it operates under the Temu brand name, drawing in customers by offering free shipping. Listed on the New York-based Nasdaq Stock Exchange under the symbol PDD, the company saw its share price surge in 2023 as it eclipsed more established rival Alibaba in sales. Heavy spending on advertising and subsidies to grab market share could test the company’s long-term profitability in 2024.

Photo courtesy of Freer/Shutterstock


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