Not long after its launch in the Philippines, the online shopping platform Temu has swiftly ascended to a prominent position in app stores, outpacing competition in the shopping category. But despite its rapid success, there are online shoppers who remain cautious about Temu and have concerns regarding its ownership and whether it provides a secure environment for online shopping.
What is Temu?
Temu is an online shopping platform and e-commerce marketplace. Just like Lazada and Shopee, users can purchase a variety of goods and services on Temu. Product categories include appliances, women’s clothing, electronics, and tools & home improvement. As products sold on the platform are quite cheap, Temu claims it’s the platform where you can “shop like a billionaire.”
Per the Temu website, the platform claims to have around 10,000 employees and receives 61 billion orders every year. Users can also sign up as a seller and be part of Temu’s 11 million merchant base.
Temu in the Philippines
Temu recently launched in the Philippines without much fanfare and marks the app’s entry into the Southeast Asia region. Temu previously launched in Japan and South Korea as well as several countries in Europe. Temu was first available in the United States in September 2022.
According to the South China Morning Post, the launch in the archipelago is part of Temu’s strategic business expansion as it aims to penetrate smaller economies. E-commerce sales in the Philippines is expected to reach $24 billion by 2025. Data from Statista shows that Southeast Asia has an e-commerce market valued at approximately $131 billion as of 2022, and it is estimated to grow to $211 billion by 2025.
Who owns Temu?
The company that owns Temu is PDD Holdings, a multinational commerce group with headquarters in Shanghai, China and is legally registered at the Cayman Islands. Interestingly, Temu does not mention its parent company in its website, where it states that the online marketplace was founded in Boston, Massachusetts in 2022.
PDD Holdings is also the owner of Pinduoduo, another e-commerce platform that’s popular in China.
Why shop at Temu?
Temu has most, if not all, of the desired features that consumers are looking for in an online shopping platform. First, Temu provides free standard shipping (a huge driving factor for Filipino online shoppers) on almost all orders, with delivery periods ranging from six to 25 days. Express shipping may also be offered for free for orders reaching a certain threshold in total amount.
The all-inclusive shopping website offers robust search functionality, customer reviews and ratings, multiple payment options (including GCash in the Philippines), and a smooth checkout process. Products may come with discounts using coupons and special offers. Temu is also available as an app on Android and iOS.
Temu builds trust and confidence among customers by offering customer support and purchase protection. Should issues arise with an order, such as when delivered items have damage and do not match the item description, Temu will let customers return the items and receive a refund. Customers who don’t want to submit their credit card information as a payment method on Temu can use PayPal.
Temu also effectively caters to savvy, budget-conscious consumers by getting the pricing right. The company uses what it calls a next-generation manufacturing model to transform the retail supply chain. This model essentially provides sellers with market insights to know what consumers want and sell products accordingly with better efficiency. By cutting down on market research expenses, sellers can lower prices for the benefit of customers.
Is Temu a trustworthy online shopping website?
While Temu does have enough features to entice Filipino consumers and accommodate their shifting habits towards online shopping, the question remains on whether the website is trustworthy enough from which you can safely buy products.
Earlier this year, the United States raised concerns about potential data risks regarding Temu after its sister app Pinduoduo was removed from the Google Play Store for containing malware in some of its versions. One of the US states, Montana, even banned Temu from government devices due to its alleged ties to China.
PCMag.com, despite recognizing Temu as a legitimate website, highlighted the problem of sellers stealing the designs of more popular brands and using these designs as their own. According to the American computer magazine, there’s an abundance of knockoffs and fake products on the website.
Individual users have had their fair share of complaints regarding Temu as well. For instance, negative reviews of the Temu app on the Google Play Store mention the bait-and-switch nature of the discount coupons, the incessant push notifications, and scammy listings.
On the positive side, the editors of Pocket-lint tried purchasing about thirty items from different product categories. They vouched for the legitimacy of the shopping platform, as all the items they ordered arrived in good condition within the expected delivery timeframe. The items also matched the descriptions provided in the product listings. Do note that Pocket-lint is based in the UK; the shopping experience of Filipino consumers on Temu may differ.
Temu Competitors and Alternatives
We’ll leave it up to you to decide if the concerns and accusations surrounding Temu are valid enough to steer clear of the online shopping website and shop elsewhere. Given the state of e-commerce in the Philippines, consumers have plenty of alternative marketplaces that offer similar perks and benefits.
Popular options include Shopee, Zalora, and Lazada, the last of which has the dominating market share in the country. Additionally, shoppers can explore the TikTok Shop and the Idol Shopping Network. For those who prefer more personalized transactions, Facebook Marketplace and Carousell provide avenues to buy and sell items within local communities. It’s important for consumers to explore these alternatives and make informed decisions about where to shop online.