Groupon, the world's largest deal of the day company, is increasing its footprint in Thailand under an Asia-Pacific expansion strategy.
"Deal of the day" or "flash sales" is a type of e-commerce in which a website offers a single product for sale for 24-36 hours.
The entry of the Illinois-based e-commerce firm into the country came after its rival LivingSocial, also based in the US, acquired local site Ensogo last year.
Competition on Thailand's daily deal websites with over 20 offers has been fierce, forcing some local operators including Dealdidi.com to close.
The Commerce Ministry estimates online trading value in the country will grow by 20% this year from US$31.8 billion last year.
Trip Wagoner, the managing director of Groupon Thailand, said Thailand marks its 48th country outside the US.
Groupon Thailand was established this past March and is No.2 in coupon sales behind LivingSocial Ensogo.
Mr Wagoner said Thailand is a priority market for the company in Southeast Asia thanks to the country's 31% internet penetration rate and up to 3 million small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
Right now less than 5% of SMEs access the internet, he added.
"We aim to help SME merchants go online to increase their export opportunities once the Asean Economic Community starts in 2015," he said.
Groupon offers at least a 50% discount on food and beverage, health and wellness, travel, consumer electronics, property and automotive products.
Groupon earlier introduced a mobile application enabling customers to purchase discount coupons via iPhone and Android smartphones.
Mobile transactions account for up to 30% of total transactions.
Joel Neoh, Groupon's vice-president for Southeast Asia, expects the number of daily deal websites left in Thailand in a year will be only three or four due to the highly competitive market.
For instance, Singapore and Malaysia had around 30-50 daily deal sites over the past few years, but now have only four major players.
Mr Neoh said the e-commerce market in Asia enjoys the highest growth in the world, with an average compound growth rate of 27% in the period of 2010-13.
JPMorgan reported the value of the global e-commerce market is expected to reach $963 billion next year, up from $680 billion last year.
Groupon has 100 million global subscribers, 36% of whom are active users.
"We believe our business will continue growing fast, especially in Southeast Asia," said Mr Neoh.
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