This story appears in the November 2023 issue of Forbes Asia. Subscribe to Forbes Asia
This story is part of Forbes’ coverage of China’s Richest 2023. See the full list here.
Against China’s lukewarm consumer spending, e-commerce giant PDD Holdings continues to thrive, boosting the wealth of its 43-year-old founder Colin Huang. His fortune nearly doubled this year to $36.2 billion, propelling the serial entrepreneur to the No. 3 spot for the first time.
Shares of the Nasdaq-listed company surged from a year earlier as its retail strategy paid off—the firm uses discount promotions to attract budget shoppers and make further inroads in smaller Chinese cities. PDD’s performance in the second quarter ended June was better than expected with revenue up 66% year-on-year to $7.2 billion and net income increasing 47% to $1.8 billion. Two years ago, Huang stepped down as chairman of the company that started in Shanghai and now lists its headquarters as Dublin. He still retains a large stake in PDD, formerly named Pinduoduo after its app.
In September, shares briefly fell on a report from U.S. short seller Grizzly Research, which accused PDD of financial fraud and hiding spyware in its overseas shopping app Temu. PDD hasn’t publicly addressed the allegations and did not respond to requests for comment. Launched last year, Temu has quickly become one of the most popular shopping apps in the U.S. with its range of low-cost products mostly sourced from China. This year, the platform expanded in Europe, making inroads into France, Germany and Italy. Shenzhen-based Blue Lotus Capital Advisors estimates Temu could sell products worth $12.5 billion this year.
Huang, who graduated in computer science from the University of Wisconsin, interned at Microsoft in Beijing and Seattle before joining Google in the U.S. in 2004. He founded an online games company and an e-commerce site prior to setting up PDD in 2015 as a rival to Alibaba.