While the likes of Alibaba and Tencent dominate conversations about China’s tech giants, Meituan Dianping is one of a number of companies that are less well known but equally attractive for both investors and end users.
With close to $14 billion in revenue in 2019 and a market cap of $140 billion, Meituan is already a key player in China's online market. The company was the brainchild of founder Wang Xing, a serial tech entrepreneur who had varying success with a number of startups in the 2000s, including the Chinese version of Facebook, Xiaonei (later rebranded as RenRen).
Wang eventually landed on Meituan, a group-buying website modelled on GroupOn, which he set up in 2010 and merged with restaurant review and booking site Dianping five years later.
Although many of Wang’s ventures clearly took a healthy dose of inspiration from similar US-based ventures, his success with Meituan hinged on the strategic transition from app to super app, consolidating group buying with delivery across a range of food, travel, and retail verticals. Today Meituan Dianping is best described as a cross between GroupOn, Yelp, Trip Advisor, and UberEats, among others.
On a recent earnings call, Wang said the company would continue to provide better experiences to consumers and merchants. “While the digitization of the entire industry value chain is still at an early stage, we’ll be an important promoter, leader, and long-term beneficiary of this trend,” he said.