uBuyiBuy is the leading HongKong-based group buying service. In November 2010, it’s acquired by Groupon and officially became the Groupon HongKong. (read our Groupon Taiwan interview.) It’s a great pleasure for me to talk with Danny Yeung, the founder of uBuyiBuy who shared his experience and opinion on the Group Buying market.
1. the founder, the company and the business
Unlike Groupon Taiwan founders who are involved with web market for a few years, Danny is actually a new comer. Before he launched uBuyiBuy, he was doing hotel furniture import/export business in U.S. Danny starts thinking of the idea of group buying business in January 2010, then in March he flew back to HongKong and set up the team. on 28th June, uBuyiBuy had the first deal out.
So why HongKong, I asked Danny. He thinks although HongKong market is small, it is the hub of Asia business and there are lots of diverse business/service and perfect consumer base suitable for Group buying business. Most of deals on uBuyiBuy are about food, beauty salon, movie theater etc. ‘Our first deal is a HK$99 voucher for a Hairy Salon, and we managed to sell around 400 which is quite encouraging for us.’, Danny said.
2. the Group Buying business in HK, and how uBuyiBuy stands out?
3. what will uBuyiBuy focus on? the opinion about groupon in future?
Danny said, ‘We are learning from Groupon U.S. which is also sharing their technology and solutions to improve uBuyiBuy’s business in HK. For new future of Groupon, I think we will focus more on multiple deals per day and uBuyiBuy version of Groupon mobile application will be launched in the first quater of 2011.’
I was also asking about how to guarantee the quality of service which causes lots of complains on Group buying model. Danny said they had a complicated procedure to verify each potential deal, e.g. his team would do the research in advance to gather the information, user feedback etc from the net for reference. ‘We reject around 70% of the deals daily’, Danny said.
4. what’s the most difficult part running the group buying business, and how’s the Chinese groupon market
‘Talking to the right person from merchant. Group buying, in some sense is about Social Media. ‘ Danny think, ‘if they have some ideas about social media, the deal can be done much easier. If not, it could be totally wasting of time.’
Danny thinks in 6 months, most of Groupon sites will be down but he also agrees that the Chinese group buying market might be different as it has a such massive market in general and you might survive if focus on niche market or certain region.
5. HK startup environment in general
uBuyiBuy is actually the 2nd company I know acquired by U.S company. The first one is EditGrid which is bought by Apple. ‘The acquisition of uBuyiBuy by Groupon might bring more hope for HongKong-based entrepreneurs as they see a new possible exit for startups. ‘ Danny believe so.
I said to Danny, maybe the experience from your previous business does help a lot on your running uBuyiBuy. And Danny agreed on that. ‘Group buying business, in my opinion is 95% offline business and 5% online business.’ Danny commented.