Chinese social e-commerce platform Pinduoduo denied on Sunday a market rumor that a program bug had caused the company to lose 20 billion yuan ($2.95 billion).
According to the rumor, the bug - which was published and spread by an "illegal gang" - enabled users to get 100-yuan coupons on the app without any prior requirements.
The company told the Global Times that the losses in question were actually less than 10 million yuan.
"We're surprised that the rumor of Pinduoduo [losing 20 billion yuan] even spread faster than the information [that users could receive coupons via the program]," a spokesperson of the company said.
The person said that Pinduoduo had fixed the loophole at the first opportunity and it was tracking orders involving the use of the coupons.
The company has reported the case to police and will actively cooperate with relevant departments to crack down on the "illegal gang," the spokesperson added.
Early on Sunday, the bug was reportedly discovered by some users who spread the news to chat groups, resulting in thousands of users rushing to get the coupons. It was 9:30 am when Pinduoduo fixed the loophole, according to media reports.
According to a poll by WeChat public account Hqssima, 50 out of 196 voters had grabbed coupons worth between 200 and 500 yuan, while two claimed that they got coupons worth more than 10,000 yuan.
Some industry insiders criticized what they said was a slow reaction by the three-year-old start-up, saying that the incident exposed the platform's weakness in risk control, which could potentially weigh on the company's share price.
The U.S.-listed shares closed 1.83 percent higher at $24.99 on Friday.