Meituan-Dianping charges up with entry into power bank rentals

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China’s O2O giant Meituan-Dianping has joined the heated competition of power bank rental by placing a few devices for testing in Qingdao and Shijiazhuang, local media reports (in Chinese). The company told the Beijing Business Today that “Meituan has just started to develop our power bank rental business” (in Chinese). However, it remains unknown which cities will welcome the first official batch of Meituan’s power banks.

Power bank rental has triggered a spending spree over the past few months. Five startups in the sector received a combined RMB 30 million (US$ 43 million) financing in less than ten days. Over 20 investment institutions have gotten involved; even China’s tech behemoths Alibaba and Tencent have also joined the game. Xiaodian, one of the major players, in April received its Series A financing led by Tencent (in Chinese), and Alibaba has also joined hands with AnkerBox (in Chinese) for a strategic partnership.

Just last month, power bank rental startup Enmonster announced a Series A of RMB 1 million, while AnkerBox, Laidian, and Xiaodian have settled with the largest shares of the market (in Chinese). As a late comer, Meituan-Dianping’s don’t seem worried. “Only if Meituan invests hundreds of millions of yuan to run it—that’s what would make an impact [on the industry],” said Laidian’s CEO Yuan Bingsong to Caijing.

The company’s offline resources can be its biggest driving force to help it stand out in the fierce competition. According to iResearch, Meituan-Dianping boasts 600 million users with over 12 million daily orders and nearly 4.5 million offline local business partners—places where power banks are mostly put for rent.

“Our power banks are provided free of charge for local businesses, while users pay for the service,” an anonymous source told Beijing Business Today.