China’s e-commerce company Walnut Street Group Holding filed with the SEC for a potential public offering today, aiming to raise up to $1 billion.
The Shanghai-based company operates the Pinduoduo mobile platform, where users to participate in group buying deals, mostly through Tencent’s communication app WeChat.
Founded 3 years ago, Walnut Street Group is growing at a disruptive pace. Per its SEC filing, the company’s Q1 revenue increased by 37 fold from 2017 to 2018, hitting RMB1.38 billion from RMB37 million. Meanwhile its gross merchandise value (GMV) in Q1, or the total amount of goods sold, jumped from RMB20.9 billion to RMB198.7 billion from 2017 to 2018.
The company’s cash flow statement is equally impressive. In Q1 2018, Walnut Street Group registered over RMB8 billion in cash flow balance, an increase by over 300% from 2017.
In 2015, Pinduoduo raised its first funding round of $8 million from Gaorong Capital. Less than a year later, it scored a much more staggering $110 million Series B with continuous backing from Gaorong Capital and new participants including Tencent Holdings. The latter, along with Sequoia Capital China, led Pinduoduo’s latest corporate round of $ 1.3 billion in April this year.
Tencent’s backing of Walnut Street Group is critical, as most of the users make group deals through WeChat. How this reliance on Tencent will be reflected on the public markets remains to be seen. In the meantime, given that the IPO window is so open, it wouldn’t be shocking to see shareholders embrace this fast-growing company.
Editorial Note: A previous version of the article stated that Pinduoduo’s April round was $3 billion. It has since been updated.