The Wall Street Journal wrote last February (note: subscription only) about tuangou 团购 (literally, team buying) websites, where as in MeetUp.com, strangers arrange to organize themselves around a common interest. But for tuangou, it’s all about shopping, aggregating enough people to be able to get a discount or better terms on everything from cars to home remodelling materials to real estate. Sam Flemming posted about it here, mentioning that he got a great discount on a television through a Shanghai tuangou site.
WuYo/51tuangou is one of the more popular tuangou sites. WuYo acts as a broker for ad hoc buying teams, organizing visits to retailers and getting from between 2-5% discounts on specific products at specific stores. For instance, this sofa set is being offered to WuYo members at a 3% discount and can be reserved online.
Wangqun Tuangou has the best photos of their buying sprees, such as this trip to a Dazhong Electronics branch store in Beijing on Nov. 26, where over 1000 people bought over $200,000 worth of electronics equipment in a single afternoon. Pretty wild stuff!