China’s biggest food delivery app buys China’s biggest on-demand bike service | Business News | SupChina

China’s biggest food delivery app buys China’s biggest on-demand bike service

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Dianping.com is a Chinese restaurant review website that was founded in 2003, a year before Yelp was started, and four years before the launch of the iPhone. After a merger with China’s dominant group buying website (similar to Groupon), it is now known as Meituan-Dianping. The company’s main product is an app that offers a huge range of location-based services from food delivery to venue booking and car hailing — Bloomberg called it a “super app.”  

The company has been furiously adding features this year in an effort to compete with Didi Chuxing, China’s biggest car-hailing app, which has encroached on Meituan’s territory in food delivery and is also the largest investor in Ofo, one of China’s two major on-demand bicycle companies. Today, Meituan bought Mobike, the other leading on-demand bike company.

  • “Meituan will acquire 100 percent of loss-making Mobike for US$2.7 billion,” the South China Morning Post reports.
  • Meituan has 320 million users, and is “the world’s fourth largest unicorn with a valuation of US$30 billion, behind Xiaomi and above Airbnb,” SCMP notes.
  • Mobike was valued at $3 billion and Ofo at $1 billion in October 2017, per Bloomberg.
  • “Meituan said that acquiring Mobike was another significant step toward building an environment that offers consumers convenience in all aspects of leisure,” according to Sixth Tone.
  • No story about bike sharing in China is complete without noting that Alibaba and Tencent, China’s two largest tech titans, are heavily invested in Ofo and Mobike, respectively. A graphic in the Sixth Tone story (linked above) provides a clear overview of the current landscape of food delivery, ride hailing, and bike sharing in China.
  • For those large investors, the big picture is about data. SCMP says that “bike-sharing companies are…seen by Chinese tech giants as effective tools to promote mobile payments and to collect user data that in theory can be analyzed for consumer patterns.”

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Lucas Niewenhuis

Lucas Niewenhuis is an associate editor at SupChina who helps curate daily news and produce the company's newsletter, app, and website content. Previously, Lucas researched China-Africa relations at the Social Science Research Council and interned at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York. He has studied Chinese language and culture in Shanghai and Beijing, and is a graduate of the University of Michigan.