Group buying phenomenon Groupon is reportedly in talks with one of China’s largest internet service portals. Tencent, a provider of internet games and the most popular instant messaging platform in China (QQ Instant Messenger), is in talks with Groupon to potentially help the fastest growing company ever grow even more in the lucrative Asian market. Groupon has had its eye on international markets for some time now, having recently announced several acquisitions in Europe, the Middle East and South Africa. Yesterday, Groupon announced its first Indian expansion with the acquisition of daily deal site SoSasta.com, to be rebranded Groupon India.
Few American internet-based companies have been able to penetrate the tough-as-nails Chinese market. But already Groupon has made significant headway in cornering the Asian market. In December, the company bought competitors uBuyiBuy, Beeconomic, and Atlastpost in Hong Kong, Singapore and Philipines and Taiwan respectively. Despite growing numbers of Groupon clones (one bold company even blatantly knocks of the Groupon name – Groupon.cn) and recent reports of a potential Chinese expansion, the Groupon feeding frenzy appears to be far from over.
China has long been seen as a tough cookie to crack. Widely publicized efforts by Google and Facebook to do business in the notoriously difficult market have left many companies unable to contend with China’s draconian laws. But with China’s monstrous economy and spend-happy population, Groupon is clearly interested in making the right friends in the right places by forming alliances with strategic partners who already have a significant foothold in China.