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Team Purchase: A Case of Consumer Empowerment in China


  • This research was supported by a Strategic Research Grant (7002349) by City University of Hong Kong


This research examines the phenomenon of team purchasing, a collective action initiated and organized by consumers. Chinese consumers use team purchase to counteract the imbalance of information and power that exists in China's consumer market. Through in-depth interviews with 30 team buyers, we find that they engage in collective information search and product evaluation, jointly uncover market fraud, seek to avoid deceptive practices and price manipulation and actively defend their rights as consumers. Their collective efforts empower them in an opaque market with inadequate government regulation. This research sheds light on this innovative, bottom-up approach to protecting consumer interests.