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China's Pinduoduo turns to smart farming for post-COVID growth

E-commerce giant's digital solutions aim to meet surging demand for safe food

Lin Sen, a contestant in Pinduoduo-organized smart agriculture competition, gives a tour of a high-tech greenhouse in Kunming, China, on Sept. 23. (Photo by CK Tan)

KUNMING, China -- Pinduoduo, operator of China's second-biggest e-commerce market, got its start as a platform for farmers to connect with urban shoppers through livestreaming events and other online tools. Now, the company is taking digital technology into the fields to capitalize on surging demand for safe, reliable produce in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

Pinduoduo hopes that digitizing the agricultural supply chain will address some of the most serious issues facing China's fragmented agricultural sector, namely labor shortages and poor productivity.

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