Chinese food delivery giant Meituan is drastically increasing the number of physical products for sale on its platform to tens of thousands of items, including mobile phones and cosmetics, in an expansion beyond its core service businesses.

Why it matters: Meituan, China’s biggest online seller of services, is pushing onto the home turf of longtime rival Alibaba as it expands into online sales of physical goods.

  • Meituan’s expansion comes one month after Alibaba’s Alipay intensified its offerings in local lifestyle services, a move to compete with Meituan’s all-purpose app.
  • Expansion to more product categories will also help offset a slowdown in sales brought by the Covid-19 outbreak.
  • The move may put Meituan in competition with other e-commerce majors like JD.com.
  • While strong demand for grocery deliveries were one of Meituan’s bright spots during the lockdown, the firm warned of Q1 losses due to the broader impact of the coronavirus pandemic after posting profits for three consecutive quarters.

Read more: Meituan faces challenge from Alipay on its home turf

Details: Consumers can now order Huawei products like smartphones and tablets on Meituan for delivery in Beijing, Shanghai, and Wuxi, according to an advertisement posted on the company’s official account on messaging platform WeChat. Flagship Huawei stores in the capital city promise that smartphone orders will arrive within an hour.

  • Users can also buy cosmetics and beauty products from Sephora outlets in 16 cities, including Beijing and Shanghai.
  • A wider selection of everyday goods are available through chain stores such as Miniso and Watson.
  • Ordering goods from physical stores on Meituan means that products arrive on a rapid timeline, similar to food deliveries on the platform.
  • Meituan could not immediately reached for comment.

Context: Meituan began testing an expansion into selling physical goods online two years ago.

  • Since 2018, the company has listed Hailan Home, a menswear fashion brand, on its platform.
  • It recently entered an agreement with 72 physical bookstores, allowing users within 10 kilometers to place orders and have books delivered within 30 minutes.

Emma Lee

Emma Lee is Shanghai-based tech writer, covering startups and tech happenings in China and Asia in general. We are looking for stories related to tech and China. Reach her at lixin@technode.com.