From food delivery to travel booking, Meituan earned itself the title of the “Amazon of services” in China by providing a wide range of services that touch nearly every aspect of Chinese people’s lives. Now, the giant service app is expanding to Amazon-like territory, selling physical goods, a sector that will put it in competition with local retail giants like Alibaba, JD, and Pinduoduo.

Operated under a platform model, Meituan already has a footing in physical goods e-commerce: It’s among the most popular choices for on-demand or next-day delivery of fresh produce and groceries. Yet that is a small fraction of China’s trillion-dollar online retail market. Starting by selling food and beverages, the company now aims to become a comprehensive e-commerce platform, selling not only daily services (food deliveries) and groceries, but also tangible goods like consumer electronics, cosmetics, and clothing.

Alibaba, JD, and Pinduoduo, the three largest e-commerce platforms in China, still dominate China’s online retail market. But the space is no longer a three-horse race after the entry of a slew of rivals such as short-video apps Douyin and Kuaishou. Meituan wants to take a bite of the physical goods e-commerce pie too. 

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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.