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In depth: The shakeout in China's community group-buying market

Sector's boom has been shorter than many expected

China's Duo Duo Grocery, the online grocery app of e-commerce platform Pinduoduo, and its rivals are fighting for a share of a market that helps communities buy groceries and other daily essentials in bulk.   © Reuters

China's once crowded community group-buying market is getting quieter after it turned into a winner-takes-all battleground amid cutthroat competition and intensifying regulatory scrutiny.

Community group-buying services have exploded in popularity in China since 2020 as millions of Chinese consumers shopped for groceries online during pandemic lockdowns. The business model allowed community groups to buy groceries and other daily essentials in bulk at cheaper prices than if members made individual purchases. Tech giants including Alibaba Group, Pinduoduo and Meituan have all dived headfirst into the sector, waging price wars that prompted regulatory crackdowns.

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