Pinduoduo stock fell 19% in premarket trade on Friday as the e-commerce company's user growth stalled, causing third-quarter revenue to fall short of expectations.
The quarter's average monthly active users increased by 15% to 741.5 million, a marked drop from the second quarter's 30% increase. The slowdown coincides with the waning of pandemic-fueled buying, as customers return to real stores to shop. It was also a time when Chinese authorities tightened their grip on the country's Internet behemoths.
Pinduoduo's Chairman and CEO, Lei Chen, stated that the firm will focus more on R&D investments rather than sales and marketing as it did in its first five years.
He reaffirmed past vows to devote all earnings to the '10 billion agriculture initiative,' a government-sponsored plan aimed at reducing inequality, particularly in rural areas. Those remarks served as a reminder of the uncertainties surrounding the amount of earnings that would be distributed to shareholders in the future.
The news came as the market was already reeling from concerns about a new coronavirus epidemic in South Africa and allegations that Chinese officials had asked Didi to delist from the New York Stock Exchange.
Pinduoduo's overall revenue in the third quarter was 21.51 billion yuan (about $3.4 billion), falling short of experts' expectations of 25.83 billion yuan.
The company's total cost of revenue more than doubled as processing fees, Cloud services, and transportation and storage fees all increased.
The adjusted profit per share was 1.15 yuan, which exceeded expectations. From a deficit at the same time last year, the company has flipped to a comfortable operating profit.