September 10, 2011
While the craze for daily deals may be calming down in the United States, they are still a novelty in Asia. Groupon acquired Indonesian deal site Disdus in April, and LivingSocial picked up Korea’s Ticket Monster in August and Southeast Asia’s Ensogo in June. Deal aggregator CakeDeals, based in Hong Kong, wants to capitalize on this trend.
“Chinese people really like discounts and deals. It’s still going really strong and there’s a lot of buzz around it,” says cofounder Andrew Ng.
CakeDeals is a website and iOS app that aggregates and lets you bookmark deals. It serves Hong Kong as well as the United States and Canada, where Ng’s three cofounders are located. Ng moved to Hong Kong in March and turned his attention to the Asian market, with plans to expand to Singapore, Macau, and China.
Born and raised in Canada, Ng is trying to adapt CakeDeals to the local market in Hong Kong. That means conveying the right personality and translating properly; some phrases aren’t the same in Beijing and Hong Kong, he explains.
Ng hopes to outlast other Asian aggregators like GroupBuya and Singapore’s AllDealsAsia, which just received funding, by delivering a superior user experience – which, he says, is not always a priority for Asian websites. CakeDeals is also planning to relieve overwhelmed deal seekers by offering recommendations.
As for all the speculation that daily deals are unsustainable, Ng is skeptical: “Group buying is something that’s been around for ages; it’s not a new concept.” He thinks that, while Groupon’s growth will slow, businesses will always want to offer discounts during downtimes. Whatever the case, sites in Asia and even the Middle East and Africa can always hope for acquisitions by the daily deal giants.
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