Wowo Ltd. (or 55Tuan), one of the first group-buying services in China, recently filed for US IPO as a local lifestyle e-commerce platform. The company plans to raise just US$40 million from the IPO, so the offering doesn’t look like it is intended to raise funding. It’s likely to do with rumors that Meituan and Dianping, currently the leading Chinese group-buying services, are planning for US IPO too.

March 2010 marked the beginning of China’s group-buying market, with a wave of Groupon clones launched that month, including 55Tuan, Meituan and LaShou. Some other Chinese online services such as Dianping, the leading ratings and reviews site, would add group-buying to their existing offerings.

55Tuan and LaShou were the most aggressive over the next few years in terms of fundraising, headcount and marketing. Each had raised about US$150million in funding by 2012.

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Tracey Xiang

Tracey Xiang is Beijing, China-based tech writer. Reach her at traceyxiang@gmail.com