On-demand services firm plans more AI, unmanned delivery investments
Meituan-Dianping, China's largest on-demand services provider said on Thursday it has raised billion in its latest financing round that values the company at billion.
The round was led by Tencent Holdings Ltd, and includes new investor the Priceline Group and other key investors including Sequoia Capital, GIC of Singapore, Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, Trustbridge Partners, Tiger Global Management, Coatue Management and China-UAE Investment Cooperation Fund, the company said in a statement.
With this new funding, Meituan-Dianping will increase investment in the fields of artificial intelligence and unmanned delivery, to promote the transforming modern service industry.
"Meituan-Dianping presently has the largest service-focused e-commerce platform in China but even so, numerous parts of its diversified business are in the early stages of growth and the opportunities for further expansion are enormous," said Wang Xing, CEO of the company.
"We look forward to investing wisely to build our platform and offerings and to fully leverage AI-based and analytics-driven technology, for the benefit of consumers and merchant partners."
As part of its long-term strategy, the company will continue to invest in cuttingedge technology to create innovative solutions and drive further efficiencies for local businesses, all to better serve the active consumer base in China.
In addition to welcoming the Priceline Group as a new investor in this funding round, Meituan Travel, Meituan-Dianping's travel and leisure platform, has entered into a new strategic partnership agreement with Agoda.com, a global online accommodation reservation company under the Priceline Group, to create a mutually beneficial commercial relationship.
A Tencent-backed startup, Meituan Dianping has built a one-stop online platform offering a range of services, from restaurant reservations to on-demand delivery, hotel and travel bookings, and entertainment.
Meituan-Dianping said it has 280 million users and operates as a platform for about 5 million businesses.
"Meituan-Dianpian hopes to expand into more horizontal sectors with the funding, not just applying more AI technologies into food delivery service sector, but also strengthening various businesses, such as movie ticketing, restaurant bookings, travel and entertainment," said Yang Xu, an analyst at Beijing-based internet consultancy Analysys.
Yang said the company's biggest rival is Alibaba Group Holding Ltd's restaurant review and local services platform Koubei, adding that competition in the service-focused e-commerce sector would be more intense.