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Tuangou, or team buying, aims to drive unprecedented bargains by combining the reach of the internet with the power of the mob. It is spreading through China like wildfire. The practice originated in online chat-rooms but has quickly inspired several specialist websites, such as 51tuangou.com and http://www.teambuy.com.cn. Zhang Wei, who helped to set up teambuy less than six months ago, says the site has 10,000 registered members. The company plans to expand into Beijing and Shanghai.

I’ve been wondering how long it would take for mainstream media coverage of team buying which has been sweeping China. This recent piece in The Economist shines a light on how enterprising customers are re-purposing new mediums to harness their collective buying power. While the concept is not new, Letsbuyit.com from the first wave comes to mind, its successful adaptation certainly is. Its a practice which will become more common place globally over the coming months. Interesting times indeed.

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