It has finally happened...Thailand's leading daily deals Web site, Ensogo, has been taken over--not by Groupon, but by the powerhouse's U.S. rival, Living Social.
Ensogo has been acquired as part of a hat-trick of purchases which follows its offering in Indonesia--DealKeren--and Dubai-based group-buying company, GoNabit, marking LivingSocial's move into the fast-growing Asian and Middle Eastern markets.
Thailand is one of the few Asian markets where Groupon does not have a presence, so why didn't the group-buying industry giant make a move for Ensogo, when it has a number of other acquisitions in neighboring markets?
I have a couple of suspicions.
As I wrote back in April, Groupon partner Tecent's investment in Ensogo rival Sanook Coupon, coupled with Ensogo's presence in the Philippines where Groupon already enjoys a presence, made the company an unlikely target for Groupon in my eyes.
Perhaps then there is little surprise to see LivingSocial step in and take its first steps into Asia in the Philippines and Thailand--via Ensogo--and Indnesia, via DealKeren.
As yet, there is no financial details around the deal which has been confirmed by Living Social in this press release. And the sites have already updated their logos accordingly.
I quote from the announcement, which also includes the group's launch in the Netherlands:
These three acquisitions and the Netherlands launch bring the total number of countries in which LivingSocial operates to 21. The company's reach now spans six of the seven continents. Ensogo, with members in the Philippines, Thailand and Indonesia, marks the first LivingSocial acquisition in Asia.
Officially launched in June 2010, Ensogo is known as the No. 1 social shopping Web site in Thailand, the Philippines and Indonesia, and currently serves more than 800,000 members. It continues to gain massive popularity and trust among Asian consumers as the market share leader, and Ensogo members have saved more than US$25 million in the past year. Ensogo is backed by Rebate Networks, a leading international VC (venture capitalist) specializing in the social commerce space.
Will this move kick the so-far lackluster competition in Thailand, where--despite Engoso's popularity--daily deals sites have yet to gain mainstream attention?
For more info on Ensogo see the video (in English) below. [youtube]HgVfDSP7E0s[/youtube]