Skip to main content

The following commentary comes from an independent investor or market observer as part of TheStreet's guest contributor program, which is separate from the company's news coverage.

By Tom Taulli



) -- It looks like Groupon's IPO should get a nice pop on its debut Friday (at least according to reports from


and the

Wall Street Journal

). So why not a public offering from its Chinese counterpart?

Also see: Top 5 Blue-Chip Stocks To Buy

Lashou Group, which filed for an IPO on Friday, offers up to 1,000 daily deals across 500 cities and towns in China. Most of the offers are from restaurants, hotels and beauty shops, with a merchant base is roughly 24,000.

Also See: Never Sell These 3 Stocks

And growth has been torrid. Average monthly unique visitors have soared from 295,000 in the second quarter of 2010 to 29.7 million in the third quarter of 2011. Based on this metric, the company is the No.1 player in the daily-deals business in China.

Also See: Economy's Latest Enemy -- Mother Nature

As should be no surprise, Lashou has borrowed the best practices of Groupon, including generous money-back guarantees, as well as a massive sales force of 3,100 people.

But there is another similarity: losses. For the first half of 2011, the red ink came to $60.5 million on revenue of only $8.9 million.

TheStreet Recommends

There's also the issue of intense competition. According to iResearch, there are more than 1,000 rivals in the daily-deals space in China. They include independent operators like, and as well as diversified Internet companies, such as Tencent.

Interestingly enough, Groupon tried to buy Lashou earlier in the year for a reported $500 million. It probably would have been a good deal, since Groupon has had troubles getting traction in China. In fact, Groupon may still make another play for Lashou.

If anything, the valuation may be more attractive. Let's face it: Chinese IPOs have had a tough time in the U.S. Companies like


(RENN) - Get Renren Inc. Report





Dang Dang


have suffered big-time drops since their offerings. In light of all this, there may be lots of pressure on the ultimate price of the Lashou deal.

Tom Taulli runs the InvestorPlace blog IPOPlaybook, a site dedicated to the latest news and rumors about initial public offerings. He is also the author of All About Short Selling and All About Commodities. Follow him on Twitter at @ttaulli . As of this writing, he did not own a position in any of the aforementioned stocks.

More From Investorplace

Top 6 Dividend Picks For November

3 Technology Stocks With A Ghastly Future

BofA Customers Beat Occupy Wall Street to the Punch

This commentary comes from an independent investor or market observer as part of TheStreet guest contributor program. The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of TheStreet or its management.