Colin Huang is the founder of Chinese e-commerce giant Pinduoduo. The Shanghai-based company, known as PDD, had 751 million monthly active users and reported revenue of 131 billion yuan ($19.4 billion) in 2022. Huang stepped down as chief executive in 2020 and as chairman in 2021 to work on research in the fields of food sciences and life sciences.
The majority of Huang’s fortune is derived from his 28% stake in Pinduoduo, a Chinese e-commerce operator. The Shanghai-based company, known as PDD, had 751 million monthly active users, according to a company release in May 2022.
He holds the shares through two British Virgin Islands-based holding companies, Walnut Street Investment and Walnut Street Management, according to its 2022 annual report.
The valuation was updated on July 2, 2020, to reflect a decrease in Huang’s shareholding. In a July 2020 letter published on the company’s website, Huang explained that he was stepping down as chief executive officer. He also noted the donation of a 2.4% stake in Pinduoduo to an irrevocable charitable trust as well as the transfer of a 7.7% stake to the Pinduoduo Partnership to support scientific research. A further 2.7% stake was transferred to an early investor. The removal of each of these three stakes from the net worth calculation led to a decrease in the valuation of more than $10 billion. He stepped down as chairman in March 2021.
The value of his cash assets is based on an analysis of dividends, insider transactions, taxes and market performance.
Joshua Goldman-Brown, a spokesperson for PDD, declined to comment on Huang’s net worth.
Education: University of Wisconsin-Madison, Zhejiang University
Colin Huang was raised in Hangzhou, China. He was identified as a bright child and attended the prestigious Hangzhou Foreign Language School at the age of 12. He went on to study at Zhejiang University and then got a master’s degree in computer science from the University of Wisconsin.
After finishing his study, he started his career at Google’s headquarters in 2004 as a software engineer and project manager. He relocated to China in 2006 and was part of the team that set up Google China.
Huang founded his first company in 2007, an e-commerce site called Ouku.com that sold consumer electronics and mobile phones. He sold it in 2010 and then started Leqi, which helped companies market their services on websites like Alibaba’s Taobao or JD.com. He was also involved in a gaming company that offered role playing games over WeChat.
He became sick and decided to retire in 2013 when he was just 33. While recovering, he developed the idea for PDD in part by studying Alibaba and Tencent. Huang raised $8 million from a group of investors led by Banyan in May 2015 and launched the app to help bring together China’s two largest internet companies.
PDD raised about $100 million in 2016, giving the company the additional resources to attract more merchants and customers. The company had an initial public offering in the US in July 2018.
Huang stepped down as chief executive in 2020 and as chairman in 2021 to work on research in the fields of food sciences and life sciences.
- 2004 Huang finishes his master’s degree at the University of Wisconsin.
- 2004 Starts working at Google headquarters as a software engineer.
- 2007 Starts his first company, an e-commerce site called Ouku.com.
- 2011 Starts Xinyoudi Studio to develop and operate online games.
- 2013 Retires due to an ear infection.
- 2015 Founds Pinduoduo.
- 2016 PDD raises about $100 million to fund growth.
- 2018 Pinduoduo become publicly traded in the U.S.