Group Discounts Online

Mei Tuan is one of many websites that are taking the group discount viral

All the cool kids in China are using tuangou (团购). TuanGou, which roughly translates as group-purchasing, is a new kind of internet based discount shopping, and it’s all the rage. You can buy dinner at your favorite chain restaurant, or tickets to the movies, or anything else from fresh fruit and make-up to electronic foot baths and mp3 players.

It’s kind of like coupons for the internet age. The deals all have restricted time-limits and the particular product in any given offer is really specific. For example, a restaurant might offer a set sushi dinner redeemable on any Tuesday or Thursday. It’s also built around the idea of a group discount. Once someone agrees to purchase, the deal only goes through once a set number of other people sign up—crowdsourcing the group discount.

And, it’s getting popular. The pull, obviously, is saving money, and each deal heavily advertises how much it takes off the sticker price. As a result, a bunch of websites have sprung up. MeiTuan is a good example, but there are tons of others and advertisements for them show up all over Beijing.

Talk about spurring domestic consumption.

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One Response to Group Discounts Online

  1. Greg says:

    You’ve been away too long. We have Groupon, which sounds like it’s exactly the same thing and is all the rage. Supposedly they are bad for businesses though, because I guess they decrease the likelihood of repeat purchases. I don’t know too much about it, but I do have an outstanding free meal at equinox!

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