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In Depth: The Shake-Out of China’s Community Group-Buying Market

By Yuan Ruiyang, Qian Tong, Du Zhihang and Bonnie Cao
2022年03月29日 17:42
‘Old-timers’ falter as newcomers and tech giants rush in, but regulatory scrutiny and buckets of red ink have cooled a once-booming e-commerce sector

China’s once crowded community group-buying market is getting quieter as it turned into a winners-take-all battleground amid cut-throat competition and intensifying regulatory scrutiny.

Community group-buying services have exploded in popularity in China since 2020 as millions of Chinese consumers shopped for groceries online during pandemic lockdowns. The business model allowed community groups to buy groceries and other daily essentials in bulk at cheaper prices than if members made individual purchases. Tech giants including Alibaba Group Holdings Ltd., Pinduoduo Inc. and Meituan have all dived headfirst into the sector, waging price wars that prompted regulators’ anti-competition crackdowns.

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