China's mobile app startup Meituan-Dianpin hit 290 million monthly active users and now expects to see its annual revenue double by surpassing $5 billion in 2017, The Information reported on Monday. Founded in 2010 by Wang Xing as Meituan.com before merging with e-commerce platform Dianping in 2015, the company is finally set to break even this year while still boasting cash reserves of approximately $7 billion, having just raised $4 billion last month as part of a private funding round that encompassed some of the largest investors in the Far Eastern country like Tencent.
The company that offers online lifestyle services via web browsers and mobile apps is valued at $30 billion following its latest funding round, thus being the fourth most valuable startup in the world, yet is still almost completely unknown outside of its home country as it hasn't made any major moves on a global level to date. Despite its domestic focus, Meituan-Dianpin has been growing at a rapid rate in recent years and is now positioning itself to take on domestic digital giants like Alibaba in a larger number of industries. The services it offers and facilitates range from restaurant reviewing and travel to food delivery and even plastic surgery, with its comprehensive portfolio simultaneously being viewed as both its biggest strength and weakness by some industry watchers. With half of its business being food delivery and all other operations being highly diversified, Meituan-Dianpin isn't seen as overly reliant on any particular industry segment, which bodes well for its long-term stability. On the other hand, many of the markets in which it recently decided to compete are presently dominated by even larger companies with more resources and significantly higher chances of winning an all-out price war.
Going public could help Meituan-Dianpin raise additional cash in order to become even more competitive, yet its Senior Vice President and chief strategist Chen Shaohui appears to be unburdened by that option, insisting that no specific time frame for such a move has yet been determined, according to the same source. With Meituan being originally backed by Alibaba before its merger with Tencent-funded Dianpin, the company is more than familiar with its rival's M.O. but it remains to be seen how effectively it ends up competing with the technology giant's services as it expands to even more markets like ride-hailing. No firm global expansion plans have yet been decided by the startup, with Mr. Chen reportedly having low expectations of short-term overseas success.