AP) — U.S.-based website Groupon.com says it has launched a discount coupon site in China, hoping to capitalize on the world’s most populous Internet market.Groupon Inc.’s site, Gaopeng.com, is a partnership with China’s Tencent.com, a popular website that offers entertainment, e-commerce and other services.
Groupon said the new site will offer its subscribers discounts on eating, shopping and entertainment in Beijing and Shanghai. It said plans call for expanding later to other major Chinese cities.
“The collaboration combines Groupon’s global group-buying experience with Tencent’s in-depth knowledge of Chinese online communities,” the company said in a statement.
Groupon raised $950 million from private investors in January, which it plans to use to fund its expansion.
China has more than 450 million people online but competition in its Internet market is intense. Global e-commerce services such as eBay.com have struggled to gain a foothold against aggressive local rivals.
Investors in Gaopeng.com include Yunfeng Capital, founded by a group of Chinese business figures such as Jack Ma, chairman of Chinese online commerce giant Alibaba, Groupon said.
The company, founded by Andrew Mason in Chicago in November 2008, emails people coupons targeted to their location for restaurants, services such as yoga classes and other activities. A specific number of people must buy the coupon in order to activate it.