Thursday, June 04, 2009

Group purchase in China

A colleague recently sent me this example from China - group purchase (tuangou) organised through social networks, or (in some respects 'shopping flashmobs').

What happens is detailed here - an organiser posts details of a car that he would like to buy, with necessary specs, and a link to a group on a site like QQ. Others who are interested join the group, and then the group leader, when he has assessed the level of demand, starts negotiation with car dealerships. When the time to buy arrives, the group members all meet for the first time, picking up their cars.

But, as Sam Flemming relates, this is just the beginning:

"Through the group purchase process, group members become familiar with each other, and, as they are all owners of the same kind of car, they tend to interact even more than normal netizens. Many group purchase group members continue to visit their QQ group, sharing their experiences with their new cars. Group members will often organize together again to purchase accessories and upgrades, or meet for offline activities. Once the group purchase is over, the group leader’s leadership position and influence continues on. When group members encounter problems with their cars, they often out of habit seek out the group leader, and future group purchases and offline activities are often organized by the group leader."

It can go wrong - see this video here (in Chinese) of a sort of riot at a Ford dealership.

More info at Wikipedia, including attempts to do this in the West - and it seems that there is a Facebook app , and a company in the US trying to get this going


pristyles said...

brands putting it into practice:

Dan said...

Brilliant - thanks for that.

charlie Gower said...

i can see this all going wrong!
there are weird folk on QQ, stalkers, sex pests etc

as well as all the kids of course.

Dan said...

QQ's the 10th biggest domain globally, according to comScore - and is baffling to anyone who doesn't speak Chinese. I think it's as integral a part of the Chinese online experience as Facebook is in the UK, if not more so. & as a result all (Chinese) human life is there, for better or worse. Ning on the other hand - that's all wife swappers and domain squatters.

andrew.woo said...

Group buying is pretty popular among the aftermarket auto parts community in the US. Here's a site:

Related Posts with Thumbnails