Briefing: Meituan adds grocery delivery to its ‘everything’ app

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美团买菜在京推测试服务站 定位“手机菜篮子 – Huanqiu

What happened: Chinese on-demand service Meituan-Dianping is testing a new grocery delivery feature in Beijing. Two service centers were set up in residential districts of the capital city, providing 30-minute delivery times to residents living within 1.5 miles of the station. Around 1,500 items in the categories of vegetables, seafood, meat, dairy, and snacks are available through the Meituan app.

Why it’s important: Restaurant delivery is still Meituan’s core business, but the Tencent-backed tech giant aims to become an all-encompassing platform for local life services, of which grocery shopping is an important part. Entry to the new business would put the company in direct competition with incumbents in the fresh food e-commerce segment like JD’s online grocery and delivery platform JD Daojia and smaller players such as FreshMarket and Dingdong. Like restaurant delivery, grocery delivery is yet another subsidy-fueled battle for the company which posted operating losses of RMB 3.7 billion (around $557 million) in the fourth quarter of 2018 due to rising costs in its delivery and bike-rental businesses.