Why is Temu so cheap? | The Sun

TEMU is a shopping app that has grown popular on TikTok for being a megastore for ultra-cheap products – with some items costing less than a £1.

With the promise of letting customers 'shop like a billionaire' on a budget, it's got people thinking – why is Temu so cheap?

What is Temu?

Temu is the US offshoot of Chinese e-commerce giant Pinduoduo Inc, owned by PDD Holdings.

While Temu’s prices are cheap, many new customers can actually get products for free through the retailer's promotional campaigns.

Customers receive credits from Temu if they invite friend and family to sign up.

The premise in simple: the more people convinced, the more credits earned.


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Why is Temu so cheap?

According to consumer organisation Better Business Bureau, it appears the items are ordered from Temu but are shipped directly from manufacturers in China and other countries to the buyer's door.

Like Shein, AliExpress, and Wish, Temu advertises products for cheap prices because of lower manufacturing and labour costs in China.

Temu's access to the Pinduoduo factory network and wider supply chain helps it offer these unbeatable prices.

However, a 2022 investigation found that Temu used cotton from the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region where China has detained Uyghurs in camps.

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The company, alongside the likes of Adidas, Nike, and Shein, has also received letters from a US House committee that's concerned Temu could be using forced, unpaid, labour from imprisoned Uyghurs. 

There are also widespread claims that Temu and it's manufacturers steal clothing designs from independent creatives – so there may be less money being spent on design as opposed to other brands.

Is Temu safe?

The Temu app does collect data from its users, but no more than the likes of Amazon.

It must also comply with US and EU data protections laws since parent company PDD Holdings moved its headquarters from China to Ireland in May 2023.

However, Pinduoduo is reportedly more sweeping with its data collection.

Pinduoduo gains full access to all your contacts, calendars, and photo albums, plus all your social media accounts, chats, and texts, according to a report by USA Today.

The Temu app and website has also been given an overall customer review of just 2.3 stars through the Better Business Bureau's (BBB) rating system.

There are a raft of five-star reviews for Temu on TrustPilot, with customers happy with the low prices and massive variety of items.

But recent complaints about Temu on the BBB's website say that items took weeks or even months to arrive – or never came.

It should also be noted that Temu's promotional credits scheme has been picked up by cybercriminals online, who have created fake 'free credits' scams to lure in unsuspecting victims.

What can I buy on Temu?

Anything, quite literally.

The marketplace offers just about any product you can think of for incredibly low prices.

You can buy anything from kitchen gadgets, electronics and outdoor furniture to makeup, baby clothes and power tools.

Most of it is up for sale for less than £10 – which is what has made Temu so popular, and a brand name you see often when flicking through shopping hauls on TikTok.

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