Alibaba is pouring billions into the food delivery business
[Photo: from VCG]
China's biggest e-commerce company said Monday that it will buy all the outstanding shares it doesn't already hold in Ele.me, a startup whose Chinese name roughly translates to "Hungry?"
Alibaba and one of its affiliates already own 43% of Ele.me, according to a company statement. The deal, which values Ele.me at $9.5 billion including debt, enables Alibaba to bring the startup deeper into its huge web of internet businesses that touch many areas of Chinese' consumers' lives.
Tech companies are eager to cash in on China's growing online food delivery market, which is expected to grow 18% to 241 billion yuan ($38 billion) this year, according to research firm iiMedia.
Tencent (TCEHY), China's biggest tech company by market value, has pumped billions of dollars into Meituan-Dianping, another leading delivery startup.
Meituan-Dianping enables users to make lunch reservations, order food and buy movie tickets through a single mobile app. A funding round in October valued it at roughly $30 billion, making it one of the most valuable startups in the world.
[The audio clip is from Studio+, produced by CRI]