Updates to this story
Chinese search engine Baidu has launched a Groupon competitor website, setting up some potentially stiff competition for Google should the rumoured acquisition of Groupon take place.
The new coupon and group deals website is called Youa Tuangou, which is Chinese for “Group Buy”, adding to a rapidly growing group buying sector in China which is said to have grown from zero websites to 1,200 over the last year, according to the China e-Business Research Centre.
Baidu is also offering a new service to allow vendors to put up discounts on its reviews website, called Baidu Shenbian. This will work in conjunction with Youa Tuangou, providing advertising for businesses, deals for customers, and a large revenue stream for Baidu.
Baidu is Google's main competition in China, holding 73 percent of the search engine market share in the region, so it's likely that Google will be watching this group deals website launch very closely.
It comes only a day after Groupon acquired a number of similar websites in Asia, which means that if Google does buy Groupon it will be competing with Baidu on more than the search engine front.
Groupon has not yet expanded into mainland China, but it looks like it's only a matter of time before it tries, with or without the backing of Google.