Group buying website to offer cut-price property

Grosper hopes to grow its membership to 50,000 through deals on rented apartments in Dubai  
Group buying website to offer cut-price property
The site is thought to be the first in the UAE to apply group buying to real estate
By Claire Ferris-Lay
Mon 07 Nov 2011 08:01 AM

Grosper, a new group buying website, aims to get more than 50,000 members within its first six months by offering group discounts on property rentals and home-related services, its business development manager has told Arabian Business.

The website, which launches on November 15, has tied up with a Dubai-based property developer to offer group discounts on rentals, Mohammed Hingora said. 

“In the next six months we’ll at least we’re looking at 50,000 signing up. We have over 1,500 already based on the pre-launch marketing…I’m really positive about the kind of response we are going to get because the users here are very familiar with the group buying concept,” he said.

Hingora declined to mention the name of the Dubai developer but said the group would initially concentrate on rentals in Dubai before expanding to Abu Dhabi and Sharjah.

Online group buying websites have been gaining traction in the Middle East as merchants look to bolster their sales in the wake of the global downturn. The websites offer limited-life, no-strings discounts on items ranging from spa treatments, meals and hotel stays.

Competition amongst global market leaders is hotting up in the region as they look to grow their business outside of their home market. US-based LivingSocial in June acquired Dubai’s GoNabit for an undisclosed sum. Under the terms of the deal, GoNabit plans to expand into new markets and triple its number of staff.

The following month the Jordanian media company Jabbar Internet Group took full control of Dubai-based Cobone. Cobone is billed as the Middle East’s largest daily deal website with 600,000 members.

Grosper will offer group discounts of as much as 20 percent on apartments across Dubai for as little as three consumers, said Hingora.

“We tie up with developers in the UAE and take some of their inventory to put on our website. If for example, they have a building in International City, we put part of the inventory on our website saying three studios and if all three of them are rented within 14 days, then all three people get about a 15-20 percent discount,” he said.

Other discounts will include home cleaning services and furniture, added Hingora.

Groupon, which claimed 50 million subscribers at the start of the year, rejected a reported $5bn takeover bid from Google last year. The firm, despite being unprofitable, could be valued as much as $20bn in its planned IPO, analysts have said.

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