News / Asia

    China Looks for Online Bargains as Consumer Prices Rise

    Chinese staff members look at the Taobao online shopping website at a five-story showroom launched by China's e-commerce giant Taobao in Beijing, China (File Photo)
    Chinese staff members look at the Taobao online shopping website at a five-story showroom launched by China's e-commerce giant Taobao in Beijing, China (File Photo)

    Earlier this week, when China released its economic figures for July, the average cost of goods - or Consumer Price Index - was up 6.5 percent, its biggest increase in three years. Leading the way was an increase in food prices, including a spike in the cost of pork.  One of the ways Chinese consumers are coping with the pinch from inflation is by turning to the Internet and shopping in groups.

    Group on

    From deals on vacations, to hotels, restaurants, food and theatrical performances, group-buying websites in China are offering a dizzying array of deals for web-savvy consumers.

    And, the competition online is intense. According to a recent report by Technode.com, an online blog that focuses on tech news and opinions in China, there are more than 1,000 online group buying websites in China.

    Wu Bo, the CEO of Lashou, one of China's leading group-buying websites, says the market is developing fast in China and still has room to grow.

    “Group buying fits very well with Chinese people's habits, said Wu Bo. "They are very keen on saving money, and are also sharp consumers. And also because of the development of the Internet, it is possible to find a lot of cheap and reliable products on the Internet.”

    Coupons

    Each day, most group buying websites post batches of coupons from online merchants that offer customers a discount once a set number of people sign up to participate in the deal.

    The front page of Lashou's website on Thursday included deals on a dinner buffet and spa at a Beijing hotel, tickets to a marine park in Shanghai and cosmetics.

    Most offers advertise at least a 50 percent discount.

    Dataotuan.com, a website that analyzes China's massive daily deal community, says Lashou is leading China's group buying market in terms of revenue.

    CEO Wu Bo says Lashou went online in March of last year and is now in 180 cities in China, employing more than 6,000 people.

    “We often joke with one another and say we can control the Consumer Price Index because our discounts are comparatively lower, and from the consumers' perspective we offer good service and they spend less money.”

    In a report on group-buying sales released late last month, tuan800.com said China saw more than $100 million in sales during the first half of the year. And that was just for 17 major group buying sites.  Tuan800.com has previously said it expects group buying sales to reach $2.5 billion this year.

    Gaining popularity

    Zuo Xuan, a 30-year old woman who frequently shops online and has been using group buying sites for several years now, says there is a connection between the rising cost of goods in China and the popularity of online buying.

    “I think that with inflation rising group buying became more popular. There definitely is a link there. But I don't think that inflation is the only reason for group-buying's success,” said Zuo.

    She says that one of the reasons why group-buying has become so popular with her and others, is because of the boom in online buying that China has already experienced.

    “People got used to buying things online and then slowly they turned to group-buying because it's even cheaper,” she said.

    However, she says that cheaper and better goods do not always go hand in hand. As prices go down, Zuo Xuan adds, the quality of goods is an increasing concern, and is something she pays close attention to when she shops online.

    Penny pinchers

    Advice about how to save money is abundant online in China.

    One website, Macaoyuan, features a popular posting named 30 Money Saving Tricks, which is geared towards what it calls smart penny pinching women in Shanghai.

    Some of its money saving tips include shopping after 9:00 p.m. - a time when it says many supermarkets discount salads, cooked foods, pastries and fruit. When traveling, it recommends staying in university guest houses, which can be cheaper than economy hotels.

    Not everyone thinks group-buying and shopping online is the best way to save money.

    Tom Shi, who works in the computer industry and is an avid Internet user, says he would rather put his money in stocks. He says few of his friends are frequent users of group-buying websites.

    “Perhaps it's because group-buying's influence is just not deep enough yet and its advertising hasn't been dynamic enough to reach those around me,” he said.

    However, Shi says some products could pique his interest in group-buying. He says that if computers and other electronics were being sold with big discounts, he would consider group-buying for that.

    You May Like

    Self-doubt, Cultural Barriers Hinder Cambodian Women in Tech

    Longtime Cambodian tech observer Sok Sikieng says that although more women have joined profession in recent years, there remain significant factors hindering women from reaching tech potential

    Trans-Adriatic Pipeline to Boost European Energy Security

    $4.5 billion-pipeline will become operational in 2020 and will deliver gas from Azerbaijan’s Shah Deniz II field to southern Italy

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Annual festival showcases the region's harvested agriculture, fine wines and offers opportunities to experience the gentle breeze in a hot air balloon flight

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora