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QQ TuanGou - GroupBuy in China
The whole GroupBuy phenomenon has not passed China unnoticed and a little bit more than one month ago Tencent launched a new product in this market: QQ TuanGou (QQ团购). TuanGou literally means "groupbuy", but I will just refer to it as Tuan. Tuan has seperate discounts for various cities in China: Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou and many others. We have already saved a few hundred RMB by using the group buys and it has been a very pleasant experience for us so far.

thumb_tuan_small
screenshot tuan.qq.com groupbuy website

How does it work?

Every few days a new special offer appears on the Tuan website . These special offers range from restaurant to KTV to outdoor activities. Each offer is only valid if a at least X people take part. If more than X people decide to buy it, then everyone can enjoy the discount. You can only take part in the group buy activity for a limited amount of time, and the time is ticking down on the website. You usually have several weeks to redeem your virtual coupon.

Even though the Tuan website is quite new, the earliest offers have already attracted hundreds to thousands of buyers. The website therefore advises buyers to make a reservation in advance at the restaurant, because if suddenly a thousand people turn up, the waiting times might become a bit too long :)

The discounts have ranged from 85% to 50%. So far 4x KTV, 8x restaurant and a few others such as dentist, wild-water rafting, foot massage and an arcade-gaming center. Because we at first missed some of the special offers, my girlfriend has now subscribed to their email-listing so we receive all the special offers.

You can pay with a bank card, your credit card or by using a special payment system that Tencent developped (called TenPay ). Furthermore you need a (free) QQ account. After you paid, you get a confirmation number. You can choose to let QQ Tuan send it to your mobile phone, or you can just write it down yourself. When you go to the restaurant, they will ask you for this number. You do not need to pay anymore (because you already paid).

Screenshots

tuan_small

On the top your current location is shown (Shenzhen for me) and then in the center the current special offer. It still runs for 4 hours,  2 minutes and 32 seconds when I took the screenshot. The original price was 50RMB, but now it's 14.5. That means it's a discount of 71% (in China they always show the reverse, so 2.9). So far 856 people took part in this deal.

You can also see the previous deals by clicking the second link in the top menu:
tuan2_small
Previous deals, you cannot take part in these anymore.


Competitors


There are already some competitors, such as zhenxi.com. The Zhenxi website actually looks almost identical to the QQTuan website. I don't know who copied who... Even the url structure seems very similar. Anyway for consumers more groupbuy sites (as long as there are not too many) is probably a good thing. And I will keep an eye on both QQTuan and Zhenxi for some nice discounts in restaurants closeby :)

Website:

http://tuan.qq.com/



Related:
http://www.tg123.com/
  GroupBuy aggregator, also for Shenzhen
http://www.nietuan.com/shenzhen.php Another aggregator
http://www.lashou.com/ Lashou, similar to QQ TuanGou
http://ju.taobao.com/ Taobao group shopping
http://t.dianping.com/ Dianping (restaurant reviews) does not offer for Shenzhen yet
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Last Updated ( Tuesday, 17 August 2010 )
 
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