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Gaopeng Acquiring Group Buy Sites, Plans IPO

Sina Tech, 6/10/11

Ouyang Yun, head of Groupon and Tencent's (0700.HK) Chinese group buy joint venture Gaopeng, joined Groupon CEO Andrew Mason for a press conference today in Beijing to announce that Gaopeng had already acquired two or three group buy websites, and had plans to list independently, though he said there was no IPO timetable at present.

At the press conference, Ouyang's title was given as COO, while previously it had been reported as CEO. He explained that as the result of corporate restructuring, COO was now the highest-ranking executive, and that there would no longer be any CEO position at the company.

According to Ouyang, Tencent's group buy directory QQ Tuan has a different business model from Gaopeng's. "QQ Tuan (tuan.qq.com) is a platform," Ouyang said. "They don't have a sales team, whereas we're just the opposite. We have a complementary relationship with them, and Gaopeng is currently considering joining QQ Tuan."

Gaopeng had previously announced that it planned to recruit 3,000 employees over a three-month period, a figure that Ouyang confirmed had been "basically reached." He added that Gaopeng had no more than 10 foreign executives at the VP level or above, and that foreign employees now represented a much smaller portion of Gaopeng's staff than they initially had.

In his remarks, Ouyang emphasized Gaopeng's rapid growth, but did not provide detailed figures or offer any comment on whether the company had begun to break even, saying only that Gaopeng now had gross profits of more than 10%.

Keywords: M&A corporate restructuring Internet IPO Tencent business model 0700.HK Groupon Gaopeng QQ Tuan Ouyang Yun Andrew Mason e-commerce HR group buying profit JV

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