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Meituan challenges e-commerce giants by offering delivery services for smartphones and cosmetics

Customers can have the latest Huawei P40 smartphone delivered to their homes within an hour.

Photo:Shutterstock-M

Chinese food delivery giant Meituan Dianping has expanded its product categories to deliver a wide range of goods including smartphones, beauty products, and clothes, local media 36Kr reported on Thursday.

Many authorized Huawei retailers in three Chinese cities—Beijing, Shanghai, and Wuxi—have already launched on Meituan’s delivery platforms as of Friday. Customers can purchase the latest Huawei P40 smartphone on Meituan’s mobile app, and have it delivered to their front door within an hour, according to Meituan.

When KrASIA checked the nearest authorized Huawei retailer on Meituan’s mobile app, it appears that the nearest store can fulfill deliveries at a starting price of RMB 45 (USD 6.4) and charge RMB 5 as the delivery fee. The pricing of products listed on Meituan’s app is identical to the flagship store on JD.com.

The price of Huawei smartphones on Meituan is the same as on e-commerce platforms. Source: screenshot of Meituan app

Meituan can also deliver beauty products from French cosmetics retailer Sephora, available in 16 cities in China including Beijing and Shanghai. The company said it also supports deliveries of clothes and face masks on the platform.

This is not the first time that Meituan has expanded its delivery service offerings. In March, the company closed a deal with the Beijing municipal government to have 72 bookstores in the city sell their products on the app. The food-delivery giant has waived admission fees and reduced service fees to lessen the burden for bookstores affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

Delivery services for these new products are provided by Meituan Instashopping, which was set up as an independent business with an aim to provide consumers with on-demand non-food delivery within 30 minutes, according to Meituan. 

Meituan aims to increase order volumes on its delivery platform by introducing new types of products, as the company’s business was heavily impacted by the coronavirus outbreak. Meituan expects negative year-over-year revenue growth and an operating loss for the first quarter of 2020, as the food delivery business faces significant challenges on the demand side and supply side, the company said in its latest financial report.

Meituan’s move has put itself into more direct competition with e-commerce giants such as JD.com and Alibaba’s Taobao and T-mall, 36Kr reported, adding that local courier companies who are fulfilling deliveries for those e-commerce platforms, such as SF Express and STO Express, will also face increased competition.