January 27th, 2011
06:27 AM GMT
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Beijing (CNN) - When it comes to labor rights, collective bargaining is forbidden in China. But if you're talking shopping, it's all the rage.

Group buying, or tuan gou in Chinese, is wildly popular across the country. Groupon of the U.S. isn't here yet but over a thousand local websites are. These sites offer similar services– hooking up China's 140 million online shoppers looking to buy the same thing and negotiate hefty discounts.

The Chinese have taken the concept and run with it. Sites like Lashou, Meituan, and Teambuy are selling everything from cars to home furnishings, to the homes themselves in bulk.

Teambuy manager Feng Junmeng told me, "People here have a tradition of haggling. And nowadays, just one person can't get prices down much. With group buying you go in together and get far better deals." In other words, Feng believes group buying is made for China.

Group buying is an outgrowth of a popular trend here– discount shopping. Young people, nicknamed the "Coupon Generation" for their penchant to clip coupons, are obsessed with e-retailers such as Taobao and 360buy. Office worker Jin Fen, 26, said he spends an hour and half every day trolling the web for bargains. He bought an Audi with four strangers in a group deal last October and managed to save over $1500. "My family was so thrilled," he says. "They told all their friends."

Jin is spreading the gospel of spending in China's evolving consumer culture.

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soundoff (20 Responses)
  1. lidiawatts

    Interesting article! I just now got Coupons of my Favorite Brands for free from printapons you should search for them online

    January 27, 2011 at 6:56 am |
  2. hanoi22

    I don't think "Groupon" or any other foreign brand would have a chance in this industry. What advantages would they have over local websites? None I think.

    In other industries, the same question must be asked. Apart from high-end luxury brands, other foreign companies will find in impossible to compete in the local market, unless they buy a Chinese company or enter into a joint venture with a local company.

    January 27, 2011 at 8:21 am |
  3. hanoi22

    NEWSFLASH-In fact groupon is in China, and so far have a site for BeiJing only (do a google search) and seems they are in a joint venture with Tencent. So there you go. Can I have a job with CNN now? :p

    January 27, 2011 at 8:39 am |
  4. Buzzmart.com

    explains why all the chinese have been signing up to my marketplace :)
    Thank you China

    January 27, 2011 at 1:01 pm |
  5. kojak168


    CNN welcomes you to work for them but they will not pay you! –> CNN Go and iReport

    January 27, 2011 at 2:38 pm |
  6. elfelipe

    yeah i browse for Taobao the first thing every morning. Groupon is going to cooperate with Tencent to enter Chinese market.

    January 27, 2011 at 3:41 pm |
  7. elfelipe

    The beginning sentence "When it comes to labor rights, collective bargaining is forbidden in China" I think it is a CNN-style templete for all reports related with China. If you don't use this templete, your article can not be published and you will be scolded by American Democracy Endowment which finances Dalai with USD$3,000,000 for his worldwide campaigns.

    January 27, 2011 at 3:43 pm |
  8. Peter Couch

    I check http://grouponbot.com more often then I check groupon now.

    January 27, 2011 at 7:20 pm |
  9. Luz M. Diaz

    This sounds very interesting....it shows that we can learn more from other places on this earth!

    January 28, 2011 at 1:19 am |
  10. kim

    Interesting piece of news posted today...Groupon May Invest in Chinese Competitor (Lashou) at Billion-Dollar Valuation – http://emoney.allthingsd.com/20110128/groupon-may-invest-in-chinese-competitor-at-billion-dollar-valuation/

    January 28, 2011 at 10:14 pm |
  11. Manuel Vilhena

    Interesting article. It seems to me that That kind of people beg too much in order to have a deal.

    February 2, 2011 at 12:24 pm |
  12. david zhang

    but reality is so many cheating in groupon deal. acturally most of chinese people donot like this way.

    February 22, 2011 at 3:37 pm |
  13. aj

    Groupon is in China – they have an office in Shanghai are currently recruiting salespeople on a massive scale.

    A problem with this article – "office workers" cannot generally afford to buy Audis, even with the $1500 discount. An Audi is at least 50-80 months salary for an "office worker"

    February 24, 2011 at 11:59 am |
  14. Peter

    I even find a news about group buy vietnamese bride.

    March 4, 2011 at 4:35 am |
  15. zaine

    group buying is becoming popular as well in the Philippines..cool deals all the time!

    March 11, 2011 at 10:50 am |
  16. Charlene

    'he bought an Audi with four people' I'm assuming that the Audi is a car, if so how do four people plan to own and use one car?!

    March 17, 2011 at 9:30 am |
  17. Car dosnt run

    The article doesn't mention the Audi for sale doesn't run and is for them all to live inside, lol!

    March 19, 2011 at 1:15 am |
  18. icons archive

    I am sorry, it not absolutely that is necessary for me.

    October 7, 2012 at 10:28 pm |
  19. Tien Lippeatt

    People are asking about Groupon, Google Deals, LivingSocial and the many other online deal sites in recent months because of their perceived ability to generate hundreds of leads for any type of business with little effort and low upfront costs. They seem to be the best online opportunity to generate sales. But savvy business owners are realizing that their financial and marketing interests and those of these social deals websites are not always in line with each other. Many early users of these sites have discovered that poor planning can turn an online offer through these sites into one of the biggest mistakes they make as a small business. -.

    Our own blog page

    May 13, 2013 at 6:16 am |

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