Pinduoduo, China’s largest agriculture platform, said it will step up its efforts in promoting digital inclusion and continue to focus on research and development, as the company records a 59% gain in annual orders.
The online marketplace operator reported 61 billion orders in total for 2021, up from 38.3 billion from the year before. The number of active customers rose to 868.7 million as of December. Revenue increased 3% to 27.2 billion yuan ($4.3 billion) for the three months ended December, according to a statement by the company.
Lower spending due to slower than expected revenue growth and a one-off rebate led to a profit of 6.6 billion yuan for the quarter, which will go to its 10 Billion Agriculture Initiative, a program dedicated to addressing critical issues in the sector that the company announced last August.
“In 2021, we made the strategic shift from sales and marketing toward research and development,” said Chen Lei, Pinduoduo Chairman and CEO. “We see ourselves making more long-term investment, especially in agriculture and R&D.”
Agriculture has remained a core part of Pinduoduo’s business since its beginnings in 2015. The company has connected more than 16 million farmers across China to the digital economy, helping to widen their access to the market.
Pinduoduo said it will continue to promote local agricultural specialties to consumers and waive commissions on agricultural product sales.
Last year, the company worked with various regions to roll out agriculture-focused shopping festivals and introduced live streaming events with partners such as China Central Television.
Chen said the company is also focusing its efforts to promote agricultural technology that enhances productivity.
Its signature Smart Agriculture Competition, an annual smart greenhouse challenge organized by Pinduoduo, has resulted in new precision technology being applied to major strawberry-growing areas in China, the company said.
More than 126,000 young farming professionals born after 1995 have also joined the Pinduoduo platform to run their own e-commerce businesses, it said.