According to a report by Caixin, Alibaba has agreed to invest $1.25 billion in Shanghai-based food ordering mobile app Ele.me. According to the agreement, Alibaba will own a 27.7% stake in Ele.me, thereby becoming the biggest shareholder in the startup.
In August, Ele.me raised US$630 million in its Series F funding round led by CITIC Private Equity Funds Management Co. and Shenzhen-listed Chinese shopping mall operator Beijing Hualian Department Store Co., Ltd. Before the Series F funding, the food delivery service firm had raised $350 million from investors including CITIC Private Equity, Tencent Holdings Ltd (0700.HK), Alibaba rival JD.com Inc. (JD.O), Dianping and Sequoia Capital.
Founded in 2009, Ele.me received several million US dollar series A from GSR Ventures in 2011. In 2013, it received several million US dollars in Series B financing from Matrix Partners China and GSR Ventures. Later in 2013, it completed US$25 million through its Series C round led by Sequoia Capital, with participation from GSR Ventures and Matrix Partners. In May 2014, it received US$80 million in Series D financing from Shanghai-based Yelp-like review website Dianping.com.
It is important to note that major investors in its recent rounds are some of Alibaba’s biggest competitors. These include Tencent Holdings and JD.com, among others.
As of July 2015, Ele.me provides online food ordering services in 260 cities in China, with 40 million users and daily transaction value of over RMB60 million, over 98% of which come from mobile devices, according to the statement.
Alipay online banking recharge is supported on Hungry. Recharge can be in the range of 50 to 500 yuan.
Ele.me, which can be directly translated into "Hungry?" is expected to help Alibaba grab market share of China's booming online-to-offline (O2O) services.
Ele.me was ranked second in October in terms of the number of users among all the door-to-door online-to-offline apps, which include services like car-hailing, food delivery and house cleaning.
In the report released by TalkingData, a third-party app research company, Tencent-backed Meituan Takeout ranked third and Baidu Takeout ranked sixth.
There has been an exponential growth in China's food delivery app market since late 2014 with service providers providing massive discounts to lure customers. The cutthroat subsidy competition has cost the players billions of yuan.
About Alibaba Group:
Founded in 1999, the company operates leading online and mobile marketplaces in retail and wholesale trade as well as cloud computing and other services. It provides technology and services to enable consumers, merchants and other participants to conduct commerce in their ecosystem. For more information, click here.