Living in China, there are certain apps that are unavoidable; Tencent’s WeChat is one, the other being Meituan Dianping. Millions of Chinese citizens rely on these apps every day in almost every aspect of their lives. Seeing that China is a mobile-first society, these apps work hard to make sure users have everything they need in the palm of their hands. Not surprisingly, Meituan Dianping is heavily backed by Tencent, strengthening the app with the necessary tools to aggressively push its business to a variety of industries.
What is Meituan Dianping?
Meituan Dianping is a merge between two successful apps competing in a similar market in the group-buying and food & beverage industry; Meituan, founded in 2010, specialized in food delivery services and Dianping, founded in 2003, specialized in restaurant reviews. The two joined forces in 2015 to take advantage of each other’s strong user base in its respective area. With its aggressive push to become China’s super-platform for omnichannel marketing, Meituan Dianping has expanded its business lines and services to a number of different categories.
Services Covered by Meituan Dianping
Meituan Waimai is Meituan Dianping’s food delivery app. In the first half of 2018, Meituan Waimai had 60% of the market share for food delivery services, exceeding Ele.me, Baidu Waimai and other food delivery service providers. During its 2019 Q2, the GTV of food delivery service grew 36.5% to RMB 93.1 billion due to an increase of orders by 34.6% (2.1 billion). For the first time since its public listing, it turned a profit with a revenue increase of 44.2% (RMB 12.8 billion). In addition, Meituan Waimai also provides delivery services for fruit, flower, vegetables, groceries, clothing and more. Not only that, they have ambitious plans to roll out AI-robot delivery services in 2019. A driverless vehicle called ‘Xiaodai’ will pick up and deliver food using the most optimized route for the fastest delivery time.
Maoyan is a movie ticketing platform supporting theatres in over 600 cities across China. Launched in 2012 and merged with Tencent’s ticketing platform, Weiying, in 2017, it leads the industry in ticket-selling services and reviews; its direct competition is Alibaba’s equivalent, Tiaopiaopiao. In hopes to diversify its services to become more than a ticketing platform, Maoyan has strategically deepened its relationship with Tencent in aims to be a comprehensive internet entertainment service provider in China. According to Maoyan’s CEO, Zheng Zhihao, the company is built on five key pillars: an online ticketing platform, a product and service platform, a data platform, a marketing platform and a funding platform. However, even though Maoyan has 60% of the online movie ticketing market share in China, it is still unable to turn a profit.
Dazhong Dianping, or commonly referred to as Dianping, is the go-to platform for information regarding restaurant and services. With more than 4.4 million merchants and 310 million monthly active users, the platform offers group-buy and daily offers on local services and products that are based on the users’ geographical location, behavior and preference. Consumers frequently use the app to both read and leave reviews on local services and restaurants, similar to Yelp. In pursuit of the company’s goal to ‘Eat Better, Live Better’, Meituan Dianping acquired Mobike in 2018, a bike-sharing platform, for US $2.7 billion and recently joined the ride-hailing industry, rivalling against Didi Chuxing, who at one point enjoyed over 90% market share. In addition, Meituan Dianping launched a travel and hotel app to capture the online travel ticketing market. Furthering that, the super-platform also plans on venturing into the mapping industry to compete with current map apps, Baidu Maps and Alibaba’s AutoNavi.
Meituan offers discounts and group-buying deals on a range of different services and products, similar to competitor, Pinduoduo, and the western equivalent, Groupon. In 2018, Meituan launched a group-buying feature in its WeChat Mini Program, encouraging users to share item links to friends and family on social media.
The Secret Behind Meituan Dianping’s Success
Why is Meituan Dianping so successful? Simple; it solves a wide range of user needs within one platform. Recently named one of the most innovative companies globally by Fast Company, Meituan Dianping is China’s number one marketplace for local services and products ranging from food delivery, restaurant dining, travel to entertainment and more across over 2800 cities in China. The following are a few reasons Meituan Dianping has grown to be so successful:
- Meituan Dianping ensures the success of their various business lines by employing a cross-selling tactic to take advantage of its existing user base. For example, over 80% of its new hotel booking consumers had previously used its food delivery and in-store dining service.
- Meituan Dianping uses location-based information from their consumers, along with its big database on their consumers’ behaviors, habits and preferences to customize daily offers, recommendations, products and services to its users.
- Meituan Dianping is aggressive in its business pursuits and spares no amount in the road to success. The company has no problem spending a large sum of money to expand, with no promise of revenue or profit. This tactic is used to deter competition to increase their market share.
How to Use Meituan Dianping to Improve Your Business
Meituan Union is a marketing platform that works both online and offline. Over the years, Meituan Dianping has acquired a large database of information on its 260 million active users, including their demographics, location, consumption behaviors and preferences and provides merchants access to this information. Merchants also have access to services such as search engine optimization, image promotion, URL promotion and website ads.
Meituan Xue and Meituan Shouyin
Meituan Xue offers unlimited access to video courses on tips in the food industry, industry expert advice, market and competition insight for those who sign up for the paid memberships. Meituan Shouyin on the other hand, is a POS system that merchants can purchase. It comes equipped with pre-installed Meituan software with different functions including real-time orders, group orders, coupons and sales.
As more and more people in China look to online services to fulfill their lifestyle requirements, companies like Meituan Dianping will continue innovating to ensure their super-platform continues to meet those needs. In order to stay competitive in the coming years, businesses should look into taking advantages of how these super-platforms can help them stay on top of their game.