Local service superapp Meituan is cutting back on mobile power bank rentals while bringing back a ride-hailing app, as ride-hailing market leader Didi faces a cybersecurity review. Tea drink chain store Heytea secures $500 million in Series D. Amazon expands a crackdown on Chinese sellers.
Meituan adjusts offerings
- Meituan plans to downsize its mobile power bank rental service, Chinese media reported on Wednesday. Donews reports that Meituan is selling its rental service in 33 Chinese cities to local operators. Most of these cities are second-tier ones such as Jinan, Baoding, and Changsha. Gao Cheng, head of the rental service division in Meituan, recently left the company. Many business development staff from the division have transferred to Meituan Youxuan, a community grocery division. [Donews, in Chinese]
- Meituan relaunched a standalone ride-hailing app on Friday, three years after removing Meituan Dache to cut expansion costs. The launch came as market leader Didi’s apps are banned from accepting new users during a cybersecurity review. Meituan’s ride-hailing service continued operating as a mini-program within the Meituan super app during the app’s hiatus. [SCMP]
Heytea raises half a billion
Modern tea drink chain store Heytea completed a $500 million Series D. Investors include Sequoia Capital China, Hillhouse Capital, Tencent Investment, and Temasek. Founded in 2012, Heytea popularized “cheese teas” and runs about 695 stores across China. The brand is popular among young, urban Chinese consumers. [Ebrun, in Chinese]
Amazon widens crackdown on Chinese sellers
Amazon closed 340 online stores operated by one of the largest Chinese retailers on the platform for allegedly violating Amazon’s rules without specification. Shenzhen Youkeshu Technology Co. sells a variety of products, including electronic gadgets, toys, and outdoor equipment. Amazon froze $20 million in payments due to the retailer. The ban may reduce Youkeshu’s first-half sales by 40% to 60%, according to a recent filing by the retailer’s Shenzhen-listed parent Tiza Information Industry Corp. Amazon banned in June three electronics brands under Shenzhen-based electronics company Sunvalley Group for soliciting positive reviews with gifts. [SCMP]
Suning chairman steps down after bailout
Zhang Jindong, the billionaire founder of Suning, resigned as chairman of the Chinese retail conglomerate this Monday. Zhang lost control of the company when the business sold a nearly 17% stake to a government-led consortium. On July 5, the troubled retailer secured a $1.36 billion bailout offer from a group of investors led by the state asset management committees of the Nanjing and Jiangsu governments. Alibaba also joined the funding consortium, alongside Chinese electronics makers Midea Group, Haier Group, Xiaomi, and TCL Technology Group. [Bloomberg]
Louis Hinnant contributed to the reporting.