China’s Meituan-Dianping said it has raised more than $3.3 billion in a funding round at a valuation of $18 billion, led by Tencent Holdings (HK:0700), DST Global, TBP Capital, Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund Temasek Holdings, and the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board.
The fundraising outstrips compatriot Didi Kuaidi’s $3 billion announced in September, and comes amid growing concerns about valuations as Chinese Internet companies continue to spend heavily to tackle fierce competition, said Reuters.
With an $18 billion valuation, Meituan-Dianping would be the fifth-most valuable pre-IPO tech company in the world, according to market research firm CB Insights.
That is larger than the latest publicly available valuations for U.S. messaging app Snapchat, Indian e-commerce startup Flipkart and Didi Kuaidi, added Reuters.
Meituan-Dianping is akin to a mix of US-based Yelp’s and GroupOn’s group-buying and restaurant-booking services. The company was formed in October 2015 when Meituan, backed by Alibaba (NYSE:BABA), merged with its rival Dianping, which is backed by Tencent, in deal valued at a $15 billion at that time.
Meituan-Dianping, now headed by billionaire serial entrepreneur Wang Xing, is in need of fresh capital to fund its expansion and attract China’s coupon-addicted smartphone users. The two companies were pushed to combine after engaging in a cash war that investors believed was unsustainable, said Forbes.
Dianping was founded in April 2003 in Shanghai, China as the premiere website providing independent consumer reviews on local services in the world. Dianping became China’s largest O2O (online to offline) platform for urban and lifestyle services. In addition to having the largest merchant information and consumer reviews database, Dianping also offers group-buying, industry leading instant payment solution, largest online restaurant reservation business, take-out delivery, e-coupon promotions, and other O2O services, covering the most comprehensive array of local businesses in industries including dining, movies, lodging, entertainment, beauty, wedding, mom & kids, home renovations, etc. With over 200 million accumulated users, Dianping’s leading mobile application has become an indispensable smartphone application for Chinese-speaking consumers, and the most powerful online partner for local businesses.
Meituan was founded in March 2010 in Beijing as China’s first group-buy website. Meituan became China’s largest provider for local services with leading market position, tremendous annual turnover growth, and over 130 million annual active purchasers. Meituan currently operates its businesses through three business units: Customers to Shop, Hotel Tourism and Home Delivery Service, and a subsidiary Maoyan Movie. Customers to Shop business includes supports local merchants to promote marketing and management ability. Launched in 2015, Customers to Shop business enhances platform and ecosystem for win-win cooperation with industry partners. Hotel and Tourism business fulfills travel and holiday consumer demands. Launched in 2013, the Hotel and Tourism business currently ranks second in the relevant market in terms of room nights. Home Delivery Service includes restaurant takeaway ordering services. Launched in 2013, it currently ranks No. 1 in the relevant market. Maoyan Movie provides seat-booking services to cinema viewers. Launched in 2012, it has become the leader in the relevant industry segment. The company has branch operations in over 1,100 cities nationwide.