Last month, we reported about Youa.com, a company spun off by Baidu that was originally created to compete with Taobao in the e-commerce space. After raising tens of millions USD in venture capital, Youa.com has created Leho.com, a social platform for local businesses to connect with consumers.

Leho, aims to help businesses set up brand pages to allow merchants the ability to share their information, special deals and connect with customers. This new effort is a push into the increasingly popular online to offline model or O2O, which we wrote about recently.

For consumers, the site is designed to allow people to share their offline consuming experience and bring it online through the posting of comments and images. Leho has also implemented at ‘Timeline’ feature similar to Facebook, which records when, where and what you did, allowing you to share it with others.  In a similar way to Dianping, people can rate the business to recommend others to go or not. Users can also interact with each other under the same topic or with others who are in the same location.

Leho is a big shift away from selling big brands online, since that space is heavily dominated by the likes of 360Buy and Taobao.com. Instead it is chasing the long tail of businesses and going after the local merchants. To sweeten the deal for merchants, Leho is leveraging its connection with Baidu, to offer Baidu search engine optimization, web development and maintenance and digital promotion.

Youa.com is reportedly investing RMB100 million to support 100,000 local businesses to move them more online. Let’s see if Leho can compete with Dianping!

The site is currently closed but you can request an invitation at Leho.com