In this episode of The Negotiation, we welcome back XinYi Lim, who is now the Executive Director, Sustainability, and Agricultural Impact with Pinduoduo. Late in July of 2020, it was in the news that PDD’s founder has moved into an executive chairman role as well as a couple of key new additions to the C-suite so we talked about why that is and what prompted the changes. We also talk about the growth of live streaming in China and how PDD has now entered the space as well and what makes their product unique compared to their competitors. We then discuss what C2M is, why it’s so relevant today, and why it’s often confused with D2C. We also talk about why PDD is starting to see some comparisons to Costco, and lastly now that we’re 6 months out from the worst of COVID-19 in China I ask XinYi if they are adopting new strategies and to talk about the misconception that PDD only services the lower-tiered cities. Enjoy!
Today on The Negotiation, we speak with Xin Yi Lim, Senior Director of Corporate Development at Pinduoduo and former Technology Analyst for GIC in Singapore and New York.
Xin Yi discusses some of PD’s latest developments, including founder Colin Huang Zheng’s recent move into an executive chairman role and news on the company’s agritech initiatives, which include its Smart Agriculture Competition to encourage innovation in both AI and traditional strawberry planting methods. She then goes into the role of live streaming in PDD’s marketing efforts and defines the relationship that the company has with its various types of vendors and other strategic partners.
“Live streaming is probably the number one industry buzzword this year as well as last year,” says Xin Yi. COVID-19, of course, had a big impact on the popularity (and necessity) of live streaming. For Pinduoduo, the key was to find the value in a live streaming product as opposed to releasing one for the sake of having a product. In particular, one of the goals in using live streaming is to drive conversion which, at its root, is a matter of building trust. According to Xin Yi, “Live streaming should be part of the shopping experience and not a distraction from it.”
An MCN is a third-party service provider that has a collection of content providers, akin to such platforms as YouTube. These are intermediaries that brands turn to if they need ready-made solutions for content since every content creator has their own following or fanbase.
C2M shortens the distance between consumers and manufacturers. “In essence,” says Xin Yi, “it is a differentiated way of thinking about how products are designed, made, and sold to consumers.” Traditionally, manufacturers do not have a direct connection to consumers and have inefficient systems for getting feedback on their products. Usually, focus groups are used when creating new products, and this process oftentimes causes quite a bit of delay. The concept of C2M takes advantage of the fact that much of the retail world has gone digital in the form of eCommerce, allowing for that direct interaction between consumers and manufacturers.
“Longer-term, the momentum behind eCommerce penetration is still very strong. In terms of PDD’s strategy, it has always been squarely focused on, ‘What do our users need and how can we provide the right products that they need for each category? How can we provide value as well as an interactive shopping experience to our 600+ million users?’”
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