I’ve always loved watching SuperBowl ads. Although I’m not even American, I still enjoy watching the ridiculously expensive, humorous and witty ads. Usually beer companies inevitably make a big appearance due to the prime audience of beer drinking football crazed males. But this year group buying giant, Groupon and other tech companies have taken alot of that limelight. In their ads they used celebrities such as Cuba Gooding Jr. to talk about discounted whale watching expeditions and Timothy Hutton (who is he anyway?) to promote a discounted Tibetan dinner. Who knows if these ads are even effective? Well I think they are entertaining at least.  But what will happen in China?

It has been widely publicized already that Groupon is making in-roads into China and will be looking to dominate their Chinese clones such as shtuango.com or lashou.com or the hundreds of others clones. So if Groupon can localize well, scale fast and use its war chest of money to promote and advertise aggressively how will the clones respond? Will they be forced to allocate a lot of their VC funded money towards ramped up marketing efforts? Will we see the Chinese flash buying sites publish Chinese style ads at the National Table Tennis Competition? Or will they resort to other tactics to kill Groupon. But perhaps like many other industries in China, there is enough room for everyone to play and be profitable.

What do you think? Who will win the war of group buying in China – Groupon or the clones? and How?

You can check out the SuperBowl ads at http://www.hulu.com/adzone2011#50120617 with a VPN.

Jason Lim

Jason is an Australian born Chinese living in Beijing, specializing in entrepreneurship, start-ups and the investment eco-system in China, especially in the tech and social area.

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