The symbol of Temu, an e-commerce platform owned by PDD Holdings, is witnessed on a cellular telephone shown in front of its internet site, in this illustration picture taken April 26, 2023. REUTERS/Florence Lo/Illustration – RC25M0ASMUF2 Obtain Licensing Rights

HONG KONG, Aug 1 (Reuters Breakingviews) – An intensifying quickly-trend rivalry in the United States delivers a glimpse of the more substantial battles to arrive. E-commerce application Temu is taking on the much larger Shein by selling low-cost Chinese-made items to Western individuals. The organization owned by $119 billion PDD (PDD.O) is extra like an on the internet greenback retail outlet. That places it on a collision system with $1.4 trillion Amazon (AMZN.O).

At initially look the competing smartphone apps search equivalent. Both equally have utilised speedy product or service enhancement and supply chains in China to get above younger American buyers with bargains like $5 shirts. The pair also profit from a trade exemption which permits Chinese packages delivered straight to U.S. shoppers to avoid import duties and tariffs supplied the products are well worth significantly less than $800. Product sales at the additional established Shein jumped 46% to $23 billion previous year, according to the Wall Avenue Journal, surpassing vogue retailer H&M’s $22 billion best line.

Still there are critical discrepancies. Shein will work intently with a network of compact and medium-sized outfits manufacturers, when Temu takes advantage of an extremely-competitive bidding system to procure the cheapest-cost products and solutions from suppliers, an marketplace insider told Breakingviews. To restrict stock threats the enterprise normally sells unsold merchandise back again to its suppliers. Furthermore, Temu presents generous special discounts and cost-free or subsidised shipping to customers.

Temu only entered the United States in September but has rapidly grabbed attention by providing costs as significantly as 40% reduce than Shein. It stays the most-downloaded app in the place and overtook its far more set up competitor in conditions of on line visitors and spending in April and Could, according to Bloomberg. The rivalry has spilled over into the courts. Final year, Shein alleged Temu experienced contracted social-media influencers to make “false and misleading statements” about the firm. Last month, the upstart responded by accusing its competitor of using its sector ability to lock up suppliers.

Parent organization PDD, whose Pinduoduo e-commerce device competes with Alibaba (9988.HK) and (9618.HK) in China, discloses minimal about its overseas enterprise. Analysts at Bernstein in January believed that Temu loses $25 on every single purchase – value roughly $30 on normal – just after factoring in purchaser acquisition, fulfilment and other fees. The similar report predicted the unit will make an functioning reduction of $1.8 billion on $1 billion of revenue in 2024. By distinction Shein, most just lately valued at $66 billion, is lucrative.

PDD most likely has its sights on a greater prize. Temu features every little thing from household appliances to electronics to toys, earning it extra of a immediate competitor to Amazon. It really is however early times, but the upstart’s lower-throat selling prices and its guardian company’s keep track of report of using on greater incumbents make it a force to be reckoned with. Its current skirmish with Shein might be just a start off.

Abide by @mak_robyn on X

(The writer is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are her personal.)


Temu, the e-commerce app owned by PDD, on July 14 submitted a U.S. lawsuit accusing rival Shein of violating antitrust legislation.

The enterprise alleges that Shein has abused its industry electrical power in attempting to coerce apparel suppliers in China “to sign loyalty oaths certifying that they will not do business with Temu”, among the other techniques.

In a statement sent to Reuters on July 19, Temu stated it had to acquire lawful actions to defend its and its merchants’ rights because of to “escalating attacks” from Shein.

A spokesperson for Shein mentioned Temu’s lawsuit was “with no benefit and we will vigorously defend ourselves.”

In December, Shein submitted a U.S. lawsuit towards Temu, accusing it of contracting social media influencers to make “wrong and misleading statements” towards the firm and tricking buyers into downloading the Temu application using “imposter” social media accounts. At the time, a Temu spokesperson said the firm “strongly and categorically rejects all allegations and is vigorously defending its legal rights.”

Editing by Peter Thal Larsen, Aditya Munjuluru and Thomas Shum

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Robyn Mak joined Reuters Breakingviews in 2013. Earlier, she was a Analysis Affiliate for the International Coverage Plans at the Asia Culture in New York exactly where she concentrated on US-Iran relations, US-Myanmar relations and sustainability concerns in Asia. She has also labored as a researcher at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington DC and interned at a number of consulting firms, like the Albright Stonebridge Group. She holds a masters diploma in international economics and worldwide relations from the Johns Hopkins University of Innovative International Scientific studies and is a magna cum laude graduate of New York College.

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