Firm's founder resigns from Pinduoduo board
Shanghai-headquartered Pinduoduo says founder Colin Huang has stepped down from the board of directors to pursue personal interests in food and life sciences.
The board has appointed CEO Chen Lei as chairman. Huang turned over the CEO role to Chen in July 2020 and his original plan was to step down as chairman in July this year.
In a letter to shareholders, Huang cited food and life sciences as areas where breakthroughs could drive the future growth of Pinduoduo, which has already grown to become China's largest agriculture platform.
As founder of the company, Huang said he is the most suitable person to explore new long-term opportunities to help the company maintain the same quality and pace of growth in the next 10 years.
He also noted that the pandemic brought external and accelerated changes in its daily operations, creating a new generation of leaders and managers who should be given the room to shape the company.
In a separate stock exchange filing on Wednesday, Pinduoduo said its gross merchandising volume in the past year had surged 66 percent to US$255.6 billion.
More than 788.4 million shoppers bought at least one item last year either through its mobile app or via social networks, rising 35 percent from a year earlier as the pandemic pushed demand for online shopping and delivery services.
Alibaba had about 779 million annual active buyers as of December.
Huang has entrusted the board to exercise his voting rights as a shareholder and pledged not to sell his shares for a further three years.
Chen told analysts on a conference call that the company will invest in agriculture and food technology, and actively seek opportunities in alternative proteins, food safety and precision farming.
The company also aims to build a faster and lower-cost agriculture logistics infrastructure platform, which could reduce waste and speed up the delivery of perishable food.
Fourth-quarter revenue surged 146 percent to 26.5 billion yuan thanks to online marketing services and merchandise sales.
Non-GAAP net loss shrank to 184.5 million yuan from 815 million yuan in the same quarter a year ago.
The value of agriculture-related orders on Pinduoduo doubled to more than 270 billion yuan last year during the pandemic as more consumers bought groceries online.