business news in context, analysis with attitude

Fast Company has a piece about Temu, ther Chinese-owned shopping app "with a very heavy emphasis on low prices across a truly bewildering array of product categories."

Temu, the story says, "launched in the U.S. less than six months ago. But by December, thanks to aggressive online marketing, it had become one of the most-downloaded free apps in both the Apple and Google Play app stores. By January, it had a reported 19 million installs. And that was before it paid for two ad slots at the Super Bowl."

Those two ads were bland and unremarkable, the story says, but the business model is unique - Temu allows Chinese manufacturers and merchants to sell directly to the world.

"Temu’s owner is Chinese mobile e-commerce giant PDD Holdings, valued at about $118 billion," the story says.  "Operating mostly in China, it launched Temu in September as its first shot at a truly global shopping app. Temu is frequently compared to fellow Chinese e-retailer Shein, which is best known for its fast-fashion selection and popularity with Gen Z—as well as controversy over the environmental and labor impacts of its relentlessly price-focused, high-turnover business model."

You can read the entire story here.

KC's View:

The facile description of Temu is that it is "the TikTok of shopping," and while that may not be entirely fair, it also doesn't do the company any favors - I think we're on the path to TikTok, at least under current ownership, being banned in the US.   The geopolitical tensions between the US and China do not seem to be lessening, and some would argue that TikTok is a much bigger threat to national security than any balloons that may be flying overhead.

Depending on how Temu's algorithms are set up, and how much data is being collected on Temu's users, I wonder if it may find itself subject to some of the same criticisms.

Speaking of criticisms, by the way … Forbes notes that "Temu has only a 1.8/5 star rating from 84 customer reviews on the Better Business Bureau website along with 120 complaints, many of which allege products never arrived, products were delivered with damages and customer service was slow or unhelpful."