Qihoo 360, Vipshop, Group Buy: China’s Top Tech Stories Of The Week

In his research report “China Internet Weekly”, Stifel analyst George I. Askew discusses the top technology stories in the world’s second largest economy. Major Chinese firms such as Qihoo 360 technology Co Ltd (NYSE:QIHU) and Vipshop Holdings Ltd. (NYSE:VIPS), that went public last year are revamping their businesses to offer more convenience to customers. Let’s take a look at the major developments.

Qihoo 360

Qihoo 360 restructures business units

The Beijing-based Internet services and security software provider has decided to restructure its mobile and security products divisions internally. The NYSE-listed Qihoo 360 Technology Co Ltd. (NYSE:QIHU) will separate its product lines into PC Security Unit and Mobile Security Unit. While Qihoo 360’s president Xiangdong Qi will oversee the PC Security business, CEO Hongyi Zhou will be responsible for the Mobile Security business.

Vipshop has a new domain name

A large number of Chinese people are still not familiar with English spelling. Perhaps that’s what prompted the world’s largest online discount retailer to come up with a shorter domain name. On November 30, Vipshop Holdings Ltd. (NYSE:VIPS) decided to launch a new domain name to replace the previous URL Stifel believes the new domain name has several benefits. First, the Chinese consumers will find it easier to remember and type a shorter name. Second, the term ‘VIP’ boosts the brand image of the company. Third, since more users can type in, it would reduce the user acquisition costs and its dependence on traffic referrals.

Over the past few months, a number of Chinese online retailers have launched new and shorter domain names. For example, of Amazon China, changed its domain name to and Yihaodian launched a new domain name

Group Buy industry almost doubles

According to Tuan800, the gross merchandise value (GMV) of Group Buy rose 98.3% YoY in October 2013 to $579 million. The total number of Group Buy customers surged 53.7% to 53.47 million in October 2013 compared to October 2012. The number of Group Buy listings also almost doubled to 610,000 compared to the corresponding month last year.

Stifel says the top five Group Buy portals were Meituan with $267 million sales, Dianping that generated $147 million in sales, 55Tuan ($52 million), Nuomi ($50 million) and Lashou that sold $49 million of goods.

Qihoo 360 Technology Co Ltd. (NYSE:QIHU) shares were up 0.84% to $86.74 in pre-market trading Thursday.