Well it’s nearly the end of 2011 and this year has been a tumultuous year for group buying in China to say the least. This year, the number of group-buying sites reached a ridiculous 6,000+ sites but by the second half of this year, 1,800+ sites evaporated due to intense competition and low margins.

Gaopeng (Groupon China) has had a bumpy ride. First expanding at hyper speed and wildly hiring people and opening offices, burning through its treasure chest of venture capital and then eventually closed offices and laid off thousands of employees. They have even been accused of selling counterfeit watches, which damaged their credibility.

The general consensus this year was that group-buying market was over-heated and would just take time to stabilize. E-commerce experts believed the market would only sustain the top 3-5 players and the rest would either die or get eaten up through consolidation. The other path to avoid being stuck in a valley of competition was to take the vertical route and specialize in a product category like cosmetics.

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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.