Pinduoduo’s sister shopping app Temu tops the US App Store • CableFree TV

Temu, the shopping app operated by the parent firm of Chinese e-commerce giant Pinduoduo, has risen from obscurity over the past few months. Once the #1 shopping app in the US App Store back in septemberThe marketplace won the free iPhone app crown in the US on November 12 in all categories and has held the top spot ever since. It was also the top free Android app in the US for two weeks.

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To date, just over 5 million people in the United States have installed Temu, according to analytics firm Sensor Tower. According to Sensor Tower, the US is the app’s largest market, accounting for 97% of the total 5.2 million installs worldwide since its launch at the end of August.

The rapid spread of Temu, which is pronounced “tee-moo”, may not come as much of a surprise given the generous subsidies it provides to users. This is a bazaar with a wide range of goods at prices on the Wish level. Temu is able to be so affordable thanks to the well-established supply chain that Pinduoduo has built over the past seven years in China, which tries to source goods from manufacturers and deliver goods directly to customers with less intermediary costs.

Indeed, an e-commerce firm writes on its Web site what “[As] As a member of PDD Holdings, Temu works closely with its global network of suppliers and logistics partners to create and select quality products so that consumers can enjoy the convenience and comfort of life.”

Pinduoduo, founded by Google China co-founder Colin Huang, has managed to compete with Alibaba by offering cheap consumer goods, but its other hook is gamification. Users are encouraged to play casual games on the app, such as its viral fruit-growing game, and are also persuaded to share deals with friends in exchange for free products. The app even shows a little progress bar, adding a bit of excitement to show how much more social media is needed before the gift can be redeemed.

Users can also join group deals with strangers to get big discounts on premium items like expensive skincare and iPhones, hence the app name Temu, which roughly means “team up, price down.” Temu can’t make much money from its heavily subsidized products, so it remains to be seen if it can continue to retain users once discounts start to wane.

By Peter Kavinsky

Peter Kavinsky is the Executive Editor at