Beijing Business News, 12/01/11
An industry source recently revealed that several Chinese group buy sites, including Groupon.cn (a Chinese group buy site unaffiliated with US firm Groupon) and the group buy channels of Fantong.com and online classified site 58.com, are in arrears to many merchant partners with some payments delayed until 2012.
The owner of one Beijing-based sushi restaurant that partnered with several group buy sites in October, said Fantong Fantuan delayed payment for a month. As a result, the owner said she has begun to offer group buy deals in which users make a small down payment on a discount offer via the group buy site, and pay the balance upon arrival at the restaurant.
Recounting his own experience with Groupon.cn, one merchant said that his contact at a group buy site recently left the company, which is a month late on its latest payment and altogether owes RMB 200,000 in back-payments. Later, in a chat forum for group buy site business partners, he discovered many stories similar to his own, with other merchants owed several thousand to hundreds of thousands of RMB.
A business owner in southern China also said that 58.com has delayed several hundred thousand RMB in payments to merchant partners.