China e-commerce platform Pinduoduo CEO steps down after building US$44 billion fortune

BEIJING (BLOOMBERG) - Colin Huang, who co-founded Pinduoduo Inc and built its market capitalisation to US$100 billion (S$139 billion), will step down from the chief executive officer post, handing the position to a top lieutenant.

Lei Chen, another founder at the Shanghai-based company, will become CEO effective immediately, PDD said in a letter to employees posted on its website. Huang, previously an engineer at Google, will remain chairman.

"I hope that through the management changes, we can gradually hand over more managerial duties and responsibilities to our younger colleagues, give space and opportunities for the team to grow, and drive Pinduoduo to become a more mature company with continuous entrepreneurial spirit," Mr Huang wrote in the letter.

Mr Huang and his co-founders started the group-shopping app in 2015 at a time when Alibaba Group Holding seemed to have a lock on the e-commerce business in China. But PDD provided an innovative service with discounted goods and customised offerings. Huang's net worth is now US$44.5 billion, the third highest in China, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

Mr Chen has served as chief technology officer since 2016.

PDD's shares have more than double this year and its market cap is about US$103 billion.