It was another impressive quarter of growth for Pinduoduo (Nasdaq: PDD) but its stock tumbled 12% on news that its founder and chairman is stepping down.
The Chinese e-commerce giant said in a statement today that its sales in the fourth quarter ending December hit 26.55 billion yuan ($4.07 billion), up 146% year-over-year. That came ahead of analysts' average estimates that were calling for 19.3 billion yuan.
Net loss in the quarter narrowed to 1.38 billion yuan ($210.9 million) compared with 1.75 billion yuan in the same period of the preceding year.
PDD's annual active customers leaped to 788 million, beating the 779 million that its e-commerce rival Alibaba (NYSE: BABA: HKEX: 09988) counted at the end of 2020.
Amid the coronavirus pandemic, consumers have altered their buying habits--helping boost the demand for e-commerce.
"One such change sweeping the world is agriculture and grocery. Pinduoduo started with agricultural products, with the vision of offering consumers the 'Costco + Disney' experience of more savings and more fun," said Lei Chen, the chief executive officer of Pinduoduo.
He added, "We are now the largest agriculture platform in China and we hope that Pinduoduo can one day become the largest grocer in the world."
Chen will assume the role as chairman, while keeping his role as CEO following the departure of Colin Huang, who is stepping down to pursue research in the food and life sciences, according to the company. The departure comes after PDD has achieved rapid growth in the past year in particular.
Compared with the same time a year ago, shares of PDD have quadrupled. In just six years since its inception, PDD's market capitalization is near $200 billion. According to Bloomberg, Huang is China's third-richest man, worth $57 billion.
"Observing its rapid transformation and growth, I'm both joyful and anxious. Pinduoduo will have its own growth journey regardless of whether I am nervous, excited, or frightened as its guardian," he wrote in a letter to shareholders today.
Further, "I hope that my stepping down as Chairman of the Board will aid this young person into independent adulthood."
PDD has its sights set on becoming the world's largest online grocery delivery. To do that, the company plans to invest in an agriculture-focused logistics infrastructure platform over the next few years.