The takeover of Baidu’s food delivery unit by Ele.me, China’s largest online catering company, will help consolidate the market, analysts said. On Thursday [24 August 2017], Ele.me announced that it will take over the food delivery business of Baidu, which operates under the Baidu Waimai brand…Full Article: ECNS.cn Aug 2017

Key Points

  • At the time of the deal, Alibaba’s Eleme had approximately 260 million users located in 2,000 cities in China. Eleme’s network included 1.3 million restaurants and three million delivery staff (i.e. scooter delivery). Meanwhile, Baidu Waimai had roughly 100 million users located across 300 cities.
  • As of August 2017, Eleme had a 41.7% market share, followed by Meituan Waimai at 41%, and Baidu Waimai at 13.2%.
  • In June 2017, Eleme had 34 million active users, Meituan Waimai had roughly 30 million active users, and Baidu Waimai had 17 million users.

ChinaAg Comments

  • In January 2017, Shanghai Railway Bureau worked with Eleme (online restaurant delivery) to launch a food delivery service to service 25 high-speed routes. After a month the service was indefinitely suspended owing to logistical challenges.
  • From December 2016 to early January 2017, the Beijing Food and Drug Administration (BFDA) ordered 225 online meal ordering/delivery businesses to close, as well as 4,409 registered restaurants to “overhaul their practices”. The majority of the offending businesses were registered with Baidu Waimai, Meituan Waimai, and Eleme.
  • In September 2016, Chinese media reported that Baidu was close to reaching a deal to sell Waimai (food delivery business) and Nuomi (e-commerce) to the Tencent-backed Meituan-Dianping. In general, China’s three primary online (e-commerce) food distribution players are Baidu, Tencent (see JD.com) and Alibaba Group (see Eleme).
  • In August 2016, Beijing Food and Drug Administration (BFDA) announced they began investigating Baidu Waimai, Meituan Waimai, and Eleme. According to the BFDA, they will investigate restaurants or food providers from all three e-commerce websites. Violations typically entail fines of up to CNY 200,000 (US$30,145) for the hosting e-commerce platforms.
  • In April 2016, Baidu Waimai became a distributor of China Quanjude (Group), a restaurant chain known for its Beijing roast duck. During the same month, Eleme received USD 1.25 billion in financing from Alibaba Group Holding and Ant Financial Services Group (Alibaba’s financial division). In addition, Eleme stated it would work with the online payment application Alipay (Alibaba).
  • In March 2016, Eleme was fined CNY 120,000 (~US$18,400) stemming from a November 2015 violation of Chinese food safety laws relating to working with non-licensed Beijing restaurants who uploaded fake photos and addresses.
  • In December 2015, Baidu Waimai announced plans to raise US$300 million to US$500 million in order to develop its food delivery platform.
  • In November 2015, according to Data Center of China Internet (DCCI), Baidu Waimai had a 32% market share, followed by Meituan Waimai at 31.2% and Eleme at 29.8%.
  • As of October 2015, Baidu Waimai had operations in 109 cities.
  • In July 2015, Baidu stated it would invest US$3.2 billion in its O2O (Online to Offline, or online to physical stores) e-commerce platform Nuomi over the next three years. Nuomi will offer a wide range of services including food delivery.
  • Founded in 2014 and headquartered in Beijing, Baidu Waimai (subsidiary of Baidu Inc., NASDAQ:BIDU) is an e-commerce platform that focuses on food delivery.
  • In July 2011, Eleme expanded into the cities Beijing and Hangzhou, and later into Guangzhou and Tianjin in March 2012.
  • Founded in 2009 and headquartered in Shanghai, Eleme (“Hungry Yet?”) is an e-commerce platform that focuses on restaurant food delivery.
  • Founded in 2003 and headquartered in Shanghai, Dianping is a restaurant-review and group-buying services platform. It has been compared as a mixture of US-based commerce sites of Yelp (restaurant review) and Groupon (e-commerce merchant). Its primary competitor in China is the Beijing-based Meituan.com (founded in 2010). In May 2016, a Shanghai court ordered Baidu (search engine) to pay CNY 3 million (~US$456,900) in damages to Dianping over copying comments and other information to Baidu controlled sites.

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