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Groupon CEO still looking to expand overseas

June 7, 2011 - 19:47 By 신용배
The head of Groupon Inc. said Tuesday that the operator of the world’s largest daily discount website is seeking to enter overseas markets to further grow its business outside the United States.

Groupon has expanded its business into 46 countries less than three years after its launch as the business model of linking local merchants with customers through half-priced deals turned out to be popular.

“We’re always looking for an additional market and it’s a possibility,” Andrew Mason, Groupon’s chief executive officer, told reporters in Seoul. He added that the company has nothing to announce for the moment.

Mason, one of the three co-founders of the Chicago, U.S.-based company, was in Seoul as a part of his tour to Asia.

He declined to comment on market speculations that it is seeking to acquire a local social commerce company. MoneyToday reported earlier in the day that Groupon expressed interest in acquiring Coupang, one of the top 3 players in South Korea, after its attempt to buy the sector leader Ticket Monster Inc. fell through.

Groupon has been struggling in South Korea, lagging behind the top three local players with less than a 10 percent market share since it opened a Korea office in March.

Groupon chief’s Korea visit also comes on the heels of its filing for an initial public offering.

Groupon expects to raise $750 million, according to its June 2 filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, an amount that market experts said is vastly underestimated, considering the New York Times report that Groupon refused Google Inc.’s offer to buy the company for $6 billion last year.

The competition in the market has become stiffer in the past year, however, as the low entry barrier spawned thousands of copycats and new rivals around the world, raising questions whether Groupon’s business will be sustainable.

Mason said that he welcomes the latest entry of Google Inc. and Facebook Inc. into the market of online daily deals.

“To some extent, they are competitors,” he said, referring to the new services from the two Internet giants.

The latest filing for the initial public offering showed that the company, despite being among the fastest-growing companies in the world based on revenue, has not been profitable.

Groupon lost $389.6 million in 2010 and $102.7 million in the first three months of this year. It was $522.1 million in deficit at the end of March.

The company’s filing stated that it expects operating expenses to increase “substantially” in the future. 

(Yonhap News)