Briefing: Meituan Dache partners with ride-hailing peers to expand its services

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美团打车在上海、南京上线聚合模式 将试点更多城市 – Sina Tech

What happened: Meituan Dache, the ride-hailing arm of Chinese lifestyle services platform Meituan-Dianping, expanded its service offerings Friday using partnerships with a number of ride-hailing peers including Shoqi Limousine & Chauffeur, Caocao Chuxing, and Car Inc. in Shanghai and Nanjing. Under the deal, Meituan Dache users in these two cities are offered an extended range of ride services to choose from, either from Meituan Dache’s own fleet of drivers or those of its partners. The current partnership focuses on improving user experience and won’t involve any subsidy campaigns, according to Chinese media.

Why it’s important: Following a 57% jump in operating losses in the fourth quarter of 2018, the Chinese food delivery giant is exercising more prudence for business areas beyond its core food delivery service this year. The push into transportation, an area that Meituan bet on heavily last year with its Mobike acquisition and ride-hailing services, has slowed. Following the murders of two passengers by Didi drivers last year, Meituan Dache suspended its expansion in September, then Mobike shut down some of its Asia businesses in March. Building an alliance with smaller industry players is a way for Meituan Dache to better position itself against Didi’s dominance. The strategy is nothing new, though. Didi used a similar tactic when it built an “anti-Uber” alliance with Lyft, Singapore-based Grab Taxi, and India’s Ola during its heated battle with Uber.

Correction: This article has been corrected to reflect that the service was first launched in Shanghai and Nanjing instead of Shanghai and Beijing.