Meituan-Dianping, the world’s largest O2O lifestyle platform, reportedly will be rolling out its ride-hailing service in Shanghai on March 16 with a wider launch in 7 more cities including Beijing, Chengdu, Hangzhou, etc. later on, as the company is seeking to rival Didi Chuxing’s yet unchallenged domination in the market.
The Beijing-based company first started a pilot in Nanjing to gauge interests and solicit feedbacks from early adopters late last year.
Started as a daily deal site, Meituan-Dianping has successfully turned itself into a comprehensive platform offering a wide range of services from helping consumers find restaurants nearby, buying movie tickets to booking travel accommodations among other things. The company keeps expanding its scope of businesses over the past years, with mixed results. And along the way, it has also turned a slew of local tech companies into its nemesis.
While Meituan’s predominant position in its core yelp-like restaurant rating service is secured, in many new sectors it ventured into, the deep-pocketed company is looking at ferocious fightback staged by – usually bigger – competitors.
For instance, in the food delivery sector, it has embroiled itself in a ground-grabbing battle with Ele.me, which enjoys a slightly higher market share and was recently rumored to be the next target to be acquired by Alibaba as the latter is solidifying its new retail strategy.
With Meituan-Dianping entering the Didi Chuxing-dominated ride-hailing space, passengers in China are expected to enjoy steep discounts and more subsidies as what they have experienced during the price war between Didi Chuxing, Uber and local rival Kuai Di several years ago.
Meituan-Dianping is the world’s #4 most valuable startup according to CB Insights but is lesser known beyond its home country. Founded in 2007 by WANG Xing, the e-commerce major is backed by Tencent and has participated in the latest funding round in India’s food delivery startup Swiggy. The company is also reportedly leading Mobike, China’s leading bike-sharing service’s latest USD 1 billion+ round, upping rivalry with Ofo and its backer Didi Chuxing.