China’s Pinduoduo has clashed with Tesla after it sold the US group’s electric vehicles at a hefty discount, highlighting the ecommerce platform’s controversial use of big subsidies, reported the Financial Times.
Pinduoduo, the most valuable company in the world to have never turned an operating profit, last month hosted a group-buying event in which Chinese shoppers could buy a Tesla Model 3 for significantly below its RMB 291,800 ($42,200) price tag. Pinduoduo sold five Model 3s at about a 14% discount, with the company and one of its online merchants making up the difference to the official price, according to Chinese media reports.
But Tesla originally said it would not deliver the cars, pointing to a company policy that bans the resale of its vehicles. Tesla, which recently became the world’s most valuable carmaker, only sells its vehicles directly to buyers via its website, bypassing dealers.
Tesla’s decision not to honor the Pinduoduo sales yielded criticism of the carmaker, for which China is an important market. On Monday Tesla pledged unspecified compensation to those who ordered a car via Pinduoduo for “losses of time and energy” if they repurchased the vehicle through its own website.