Founded in early July of last year, Beijing-based Yikuair (or 一块儿微集市) is trying to leverage the power of social media to reshape the online marketplace.
Being the first and as of now the only company to build upon Sina Weibo’s virtual currency Sina Weibi (新浪微币), Yikuair has developed a marketplace combining social, local, mobile and commerce in an effort to help connect online/offline merchants and consumers and to offer them with special deals through a distinct micro payment system powered by Sina Weibo, the #1 Chinese twitter-like service.
The newly-founded startup is also bringing some disruptive innovations to the sluggish group buying market. Normally, daily deal sites take a cut from every deals on their site while consumers need to pay the whole sum beforehand. With Yikuair, for merchants you’re losing nothing because Yikuair takes absolutely no cut from deals and as to consumer, they only need to pay RMB 1 kuai or even free, and then pay the remaining fee upon receiving service.
Groupon roughly shares revenue with dealers on a ratio of 1:1 while in China, group buying services usually take 10% from every deal, while Yikuair takes zero from dealers, which might be a good thing for those local merchants who’re tired of having salesperson constantly knocking at their door asking for deals.
As of now Sina Weibo has more than 250 million registered users, a huge user pool that Yikuair could tap into. And besides social media like Weibo, the marketplace is also considering coming up with its own mobile app and weibo app to help merchants tout and reach out to more customers.