You may have seen the article in the Wall Street Journal on 2/28/06, describing the Chinese collective buying website 51tuangou.com. 51tuangou.com is one of a new kind of Chinese online experience–finding people in your local area who want to buy the same (usually big ticket) item that you do, and approaching the merchants as a group in order to receive a discount. The WSJ article tells the story of a group of new car buyers who spent a marathon 6 hours negotiating with the poor car salesman, both as a group and as individuals.
51tuangou also offers a view on all things considered domestic, from tips on remodeling and interior design (a great source for those interested in contemporary Chinese interior design and consumer desires), to wedding photos, to driving lessons for new car owners. For instance, link here to see one buyer’s newly remodeled home, complete with blueprints and total costs of furniture (a whopping 107,000 yuan, or roughly US $13,000, a huge sum for the average Chinese).
Update: was just unable to link through to the site for some reason. If you can’t use these links, just go directly to www.51tuangou.com (it takes you automatically to the Shanghai page). The photos of remodels are at the bottom of the page.