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Chinese-Owned Rival to Shein Makes Splashy Super Bowl Debut

Temu launched in September and rapidly scaled Apple’s US app store. It’s now considered a serious competitor to Shein, the fast-fashion phenomenon that’s also fired up American shoppers.
Pinduoduo misses quarterly revenue estimates.
Chinese-owned e-commerce upstart Temu made its Super Bowl debut on Sunday. (Shutterstock)

Chinese-owned e-commerce upstart Temu made its Super Bowl debut on Sunday, an unofficial coming-out party for an online shopping app that’s climbed American download charts since its debut late last year.

PDD Holdings Inc.’s service, which like Shein has gained a reputation for cut-rate pricing and fast delivery, ran two 30-second spots featuring a trendy shopper twirling and dancing to phrases like “Cha-ching! I feel so rich, oh yeah.” PDD, formerly known as Pinduoduo, said it’s also giving away a total of $10 million to users via online sweepstakes.

Temu launched in September and rapidly scaled Apple’s US app store. It’s now considered a serious competitor to Shein, the fast-fashion phenomenon that’s also fired up American shoppers. But PDD, which plans to launch Temu in Canada as soon as this month, offers a broader range of goods from pet supplies to groceries.

Many apps that enjoy initial success fade away over time as incumbent leaders ramp up competitive pressures. Owner PDD is known in China for making inroads into markets less covered by major players including Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., such as lower-income rural areas.

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Getting its name from “Team up,” Temu wants to replicate PDD’s social commerce model in North America. If it sustains its initial momentum, the app could join just a handful of Chinese-owned internet services to have succeeded in the US, including Alibaba’s Aliexpress and ByteDance Ltd.’s TikTok.

Super Bowl spots like Temu’s “Shop Like a Billionaire” typically cost millions to produce and air, but many brands have considered them essential exposure over the years. Sunday’s game between the Philadelphia Eagles and Kansas City Chiefs was expected to draw tens of millions of viewers. The Temu ad ran twice on Sunday, during the first and third quarters.

“Through the largest stage possible, we want to share with our consumers that they can shop with a sense of freedom because of the price we offer,” PDD said in a statement.

By Jane Zhang

Learn more:

Shein’s New Rival, Explained

Pinduoduo is a giant in China but relatively unknown in America. It’s looking to change that with a new app, Temu, that sells ultra-cheap clothing, with thousands of new items added daily. Sound familiar?

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