Atlaspost was founded by two brothers, Jerry Kuo and Andy Kuo in 2007. It started as a location based blog service on which you can the share contents (diary, picture, point of interest) with people around you. In 2008, the service became more like a social network service and the number of users keeps growing. In July 2010, the team decided to launch its group buying business. One month later, the service is launched. Thanks to its large user base (it said that it had over 1millions users by then), Atlaspost is able to convert traffic from its SNS to group buying business. Only four months later, Atlaspost was acquired by Groupon to become Groupon Taiwan.
I had a great pleasure to interview Andy Kuo, the co-founder of Atlaspost.
1. The group buying market in Taiwan
The group buying market is also hot in Taiwan, but not that crazy as Chinese market. “There are about 15 popular group buying sites in Taiwan, besides Atlaspost, Gomaji and 17life are probably the top popular ones right now. ” said Andy, “the competition is strong still.” So what make Atlaspost outstanding, I asked. Andy think they are great because of its SNS which is also the key reason they can enter the market relatively easier.
2. From Atlaspost group buying service to Groupon Taiwan
Atlaspost mainly focus on four cities in Taiwan including Taipei, Taichung, Tainan and Kaohsiung. As per the service the site offers, Andy said the restaurants are always the best. 80% of deals we have been offered are restaurants. “The most exciting thing I think is everyone love to buy good service for half price, people have the need for this kind of service which make group buying so popular.” Andy told me, “with Groupon Taiwan, we will very soon expand to other cities and be leader in every market in Taiwan.”
3. How to deal with some issues comes with Group buying, such as quality of service
Andy said they have many ways to control the quality of service. “For example, we only work with merchants that we want to go to. Many restaurants and merchants are wating for being feautred. So we only feature the ones we think our users will like. ” he said. “We need to have merchants happy and customers happy to make sure this is a good business.”
4. Taiwan startup environment
It seems for me most the sort of web2.0 sectors are dominated by foreign service in Taiwan, such as Facebook, and Twitter is hot there too. “For local internet business, it’s difficult to get funding. Atlaspost was self-funded at beginning,” Andy commented, “Many of internet startups are looking at China market but few are successful.”
When I asked Andy for his opinion about Chinese market, especially the group buying market, Andy said it’s beyond his knowledge, and they focus and would focus on Taiwan only.