Daily-deals website Groupon goes live in China on Monday, bringing its popular brand of Internet retail to the world's most populous nation.
GaoPeng.com, funded by Groupon, the Tencent Collaboration Fund and Yunfeng Capital, will begin accepting email registrations from local consumers, with daily deals promoting local merchants to debut in March.
The Internet sensation had been widely reported to be scouting out locations and workers in China, seeking the global expansion its plethora of rivals have not embarked upon.
Groupon, the two-year-old start-up that has met bankers about an initial public offering and which sources say rebuffed a $6 billion advance from Google Inc -- has seen phenomenal growth.
It has grown to about 50 million users from 3 million across 500 cities in 40 countries over the course of 2010.
But the competition is intensifying, with the likes of LivingSocial expanding in the same space and a plethora of websites springing up globally that specialize in deals for niche markets.
Groupon recently completed a $950 million round of financing on its way to pondering an IPO, which sources have said would be one of the largest technology IPOs of 2011.
Its venture capital backers and late-stage investors include Andreessen Horowitz, Battery Ventures, Greylock Partners, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Mail.ru Group, Maverick Capital, Silver Lake and Technology Crossover Ventures.
(Reporting by Edwin Chan; Editing by Anshuman Daga)