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©Meituan Dianping

INSIGHTS / THE BIG PICTURE

Meituan, the “Amazon for local services”

China · Oct 17, 2018 · By Irene Wang and Wang Xiao'e

 Now worth over US$50 billion, the company has always focused on one end-goal: help consumers eat better, live better

When Apple CEO Tim Cook ate wonton at a Shanghai restaurant last December, his Chinese dining companion taught Cook how to order and pay with a smartphone. By then, paying by smartphone was common practice in China, but the means did not yet exist in the US. Cook sang the praises of this “great innovation” on Weibo, the Chinese social media.

The man who showed Cook how indispensable the smartphone could be was none other than Wang Xing, CEO of Meituan-Dianping, one of China's most popular apps. Launched in 2010 as a copy of US group-buying business Groupon, Meituan has since eclipsed the market value of its American peer by more than US$50 billion. Meituan listed its shares in Hong Kong in September, and is now worth around US$53 billion.

No longer just a group-buying company, Meituan now provides users with access to a full spectrum of location-based services, including food delivery, restaurant reviews, movie ticketing, ride-hailing and hotel and travel bookings. The platform collectively offers services provided separately by Groupon, Yelp, Grubhub, Uber and Kayak, but users don’t have to switch between different apps for different services.

Edited by Wendy Lovinger

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