Combining group buying with restaurant deals and ride sharing is now on Meituan-Dianping’s menu.
The merged company Meituan-Dianping has morphed in China from a Groupon-like service offering group discounts to then offering dining deals and travel excursions to now offering a ride sharing service. The company announced its new ride sharing service, which will compete with stalwart foe Didi Chuxing, is first available in Nanjing.
Stringent regulatory requirements for ride sharing services have shaken the industry in the past year, causing foreign firm Uber to depart the market in a sell-out of its China service to Didi Chuxing. Chinese media report that drivers on Didi’s platform dropped by nearly 25% in January because the requirements that drivers be local residents within the areas they drive.
Meituan-Dianping is reportedly in the process of applying for its own online operations license, and the company has still not formulated a strategy for how to best recruit drivers.
Meituan-Dianping claims 200 million monthly users, but it bust also contend with upstarts like Yidao Yongche, a chauffeured car mobile app controlled by LeEco.
Meituan-Dianping has not reported the amount of funds it is investing in the new service, and it has yet to reveal when it will expand past Nanjing and into other cities in China.