20240320 temu
Temu is an e-commerce platform owned by PDD Holdings. Image Credit: Reuters

Beijing: Chinese low-price online retailer Pinduoduo, the owner of the Temu app and Alibaba's main competitor, almost doubled its net profit in 2023, the group announced on Wednesday.

The Shanghai-based giant, which has made affordable products its speciality since launching in China in 2015, posted a year-on-year net profit jump of 90 percent in 2023 to 60 billion yuan ($8.3 billion), according to a statement.

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Pinduoduo is now a major competitor to behemoth Alibaba, though its highly successful Temu app is now in the crosshairs of several countries, including France, whose parliament has backed a string of measures against low-cost fast fashion brands.

France's National Assembly approved moves including a ban on advertising for the cheapest textiles, and an environmental charge slapped on low-cost items.

Temu's Chinese rival Shein was singled out as a prime example of intensive fashion production.

On Wednesday Pinduoduo said its net profits more than doubled in the last quarter of 2023, up 146 percent, and the firm's annual sales reached 247.6 billion yuan ($34.4 billion), up 90 percent year-on-year.

As well as its rise overseas, Pinduoduo is enjoying growing success at home at a time when Chinese consumers are curbing their spending and turning to low-price products, against a backdrop of economic slowdown and high youth unemployment.

That change in behaviour enabled Pinduoduo to briefly overtake Alibaba in terms of market capitalisation in November.