China’s three largest e-commerce platforms Alibaba,, and Pinduoduo have all released their earnings results for the first quarter this year, and it is worth taking a minute to review the numbers.


Alibaba marked 22% of total revenue growth YoY, reaching US$16.1 billion for the first quarter of 2020. They announced that they had surpassed US$1 trillion GMV (gross merchant value) milestone for the fiscal year 2020 (that ended on 31 March). Their active users for the same period have risen to 726 million (15 million adds QoQ). Over 70% of new annual active consumers during fiscal 2020 were from less developed areas. Their international marketplaces had over 180 million active users. In general, the Alibaba Group saw a positive impact from the coronavirus crisis across all platforms. Tmall online physical goods GMV, excluding unpaid orders, grew 10% YoY in the March quarter, driven by FMCG and resilient demand for consumer electronics, which together grew 25% YoY.


Pinduoduo also said that the company’s GMV for the year ended March 31 was $163.4 billion, an increase of 108% in the twelve-month period ended March 31, 2019. Whereas, Total revenues in the quarter were US$923.8 million, an increase of 44% in the same quarter of 2019. The average monthly active users in the quarter were 487.4 million. “Despite the unprecedented challenges in the first quarter, Pinduoduo has grown and now serves more than 600 million active buyers. We’re encouraged to see our next generation of leaders stepping up and shouldering the responsibilities of serving our users,” said Mr. Zheng Huang, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Pinduoduo.


JD released its full-year results in mid-April, reporting that its GMV for the year ended December 31 had risen to $299.5 billion. JD also said that its active customer accounts had jumped 24.8% to 387.4 million for the year ended March 31.


Chinese e-commerce has held up during corona concerns, economic uncertainty, and logistic disruptions. China went into the pandemic with around 35% of its retail spending in e-commerce. By the end of the year, this number is expected to rise to 50%. This growth is undoubtedly due to the lockdowns because of the coronavirus. However, consumers’ preferences for e-commerce over physical stores and the growing offering of more and more products and services online are factors not to be ignored, not to mention that online shopping has now become the new reality worldwide.