China Daily (Latin America Weekly) - - Business -

In the April-June quar­ter alone, white-col­lar work­ers and pro­fes­sion­als spent 38 billion yuan on de­liv­ered food, or about 83 per­cent of de­liv­ery firms’ sales (down from 84 per­cent in the first quar­ter).

In con­trast, univer­sity stu­dents ac­counted for 10 per­cent of sales, while res­i­dents of hous­ing es­tates con­trib­uted al­most 7 per­cent.

De­liv­er­ies of af­ter­noon snacks and din­ners have seen strong growth, sug­gest­ing per­son­al­ized ser­vices will likely find fa­vor soon as the mar­ket ma­tures, ne­ces­si­tat­ing di­verse foods.

Ac­cord­ing to Ii­me­dia Re­search, some food de­liv­ery plat­forms are rais­ing the fee they col­lect from restau­rants for in­clu­sion on their apps. High fees could push restau­rants and cater­ers to ei­ther look for cheaper de­liv­ery al­ter­na­tives or exit the take­out chan­nel al­to­gether, said Ii­me­dia.

All these de­vel­op­memts, it ap­pears, have fas­ci­nated in­vestors no end. Sens­ing big busi­ness op­por­tu­ni­ties, cor­po­rates are vy­ing for a piece of the food de­liv­ery pie., which is backed by Alibaba Group Hold­ing Ltd, ac­quired Baidu Waimai, the food de­liv­ery unit of in­ter­net search firm Baidu Inc, for 4.2 billion yuan in Au­gust.

Mean­while, Meituan-Dian­ping, China’s lead­ing group­buy­ing and din­ing the money raised by Meituan-Dian­ping in its lat­est fi­nanc­ing round, which val­ued it at $30 billion in­for­ma­tion plat­form, said on Oct 19 it has raised $4 billion in its lat­est fi­nanc­ing round, which val­ued it at $30 billion.

The round was led by Ten­cent Hold­ings Ltd, and in­cludes a new in­vestor, the Price­line Group, and other big in­vestors such as Se­quoia Cap­i­tal, the China-UAE in­vest­ment Co­op­er­a­tion Fund and GIC of Sin­ga­pore.

The fund in­fu­sion will al­low Meituan-Dian­ping to in­crease in­vest­ment in ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence and un­manned de­liv­ery, to pro­mote its transformation into a modern ser­vices player.

Food de­liv­ery ser­vices are ex­pected to com­pete for qual­ity next, us­ing tech­nol­ogy in a way that ad­dresses consumer needs and strength­ens link­ages with other busi­nesses, said Chen Liteng, a an­a­lyst with China E-com­merce Re­searchCen­ter. Things are evolv­ing in that di­rec­tion al­ready.

Some food de­liv­ery ser­vice op­er­a­tors have ex­tended their take­out cat­e­gories by link­ing with tra­di­tional re­tail­ers such as su­per­mar­kets, fresh food re­tail­ers and phar­ma­cies.

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