Groupon CEO Andrew Mason showed up at a press conference on June 10 after investigating China market and visiting Gaopeng Beijing office, the group-buying site co-launched by Groupon and Tencent, the giant Chinese internet company. Mason said that he was pleased to partner with Tencent, Gaopeng COO Yun Ouyang had been exercising strong leadership, and Groupon was going to support Gaopeng to crank up business and credit with its global resources. Then he just left for an“important meeting”, more likely because Groupon is in quiet period (Groupon has filed for IPO at Wall Street to raise US$750 million.)
Ouyang said Gaopeng had acquired three small daily deal sites in China, and had an intention to conduct its own IPO, though without exact time schedule yet.
It is worth nothing that Ouyang was introduced as COO of Gaopeng rather than CEO at the conference, which according to Ouyang is the outcome of the recent restructuring. Actually, Gaopeng is now ruled by COO.
According to anonymous source, Groupon Chicago BD person disclosed that the company was quite unhappy with Gaopeng, its Chinese subsidiary which was once operated by Samwer brothers from Germany. Missteps in business planning including:
1) Hiring many expat bankers and consultants for a highly local business.
2) Tibetan TV commercial over superbowl.
And there was a lottery scandal last month. Some employees of Gaopeng have cheated on an lottery that reward winner with iPhonein May. Later Gaopeng fired some involving employees and a vice president who is responsible for this.
In the press conference, Ouyang said Gaopeng would hold a new lottery to redeem the mistake. He also revealed that Gaopeng had lowered the proportion of foreign employees significantly, and there are less than 10 foreign executives in Vice President positions and higher ones.
It sounds like Gaopeng is getting back on track.