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Technology

Meituan-Dianping raises US$4b in funding round, vaulting into world’s top 5 unicorn ranks

New valuation of US$30 billion could push the firm higher in CB Insights’ recent global unicorn ranking to No 5, ahead of SpaceX founded by Elon Musk

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 19 October, 2017, 4:01pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 19 October, 2017, 11:07pm

China’s largest on-demand internet service provider Meituan-Dianping raised US$4 billion in its latest funding round, giving it a valuation of US$30 billion, the firm said on Thursday.

The deal could push Meituan-Dianping to No 5 in the CB Insights’ global unicorn ranking, behind Uber, Didi Chuxing, Xiaomi and Airbnb, and ahead of SpaceX founded by Elon Musk.

CB Insights, a venture capital database, published a list of the world’s 197 global unicorn companies in May this year, based on their valuations at the time. Unicorn refers to a privately held start-up valued at over US$1 billion.

Chinese online major Tencent led the new funding round, according to Meituan-Dianping.

US-based Priceline Group, the world’s largest online travel company, is also a new strategic investor in Meituan-Dianping.

The new funds will be used to increase investments in the research and development (R&D) of artificial intelligence and so-called unmanned delivery.

“Our company will enter a new phase [of development] after this funding round completes, ” Wang Xing, CEO of Meituan-Dianping, said in a statement.

“We will adhere to the mission of helping people ‘eat better, live better’, undertake more social responsibilities, create more employment, and build a more open and cooperative social enterprise that coordinates the development of the society,” he said.

Ele.me may buy out Baidu’s food delivery business to get a leg up over rival Meituan-Dianping

Other main investors in the funding round include Sequoia Capital, Singapore’s GIC, Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, Trustbridge Partners, Tiger Global Management, Coatue Management and China-UAE Investment Cooperation Fund.

Meituan-Dianping offers on-demand services such as food delivery, film ticketing, restaurant bookings, and wedding services.

Its last funding round was in January 2016, when it raised US$3.3 billion and received a valuation of US$18 billion.

Meituan-Dianping was created by the merger of two rival start-ups in October 2015. In 2016,Alibaba Group sold its stake in the company for roughly US$900 million.

In May this year, the firm announced that it was processing more than 180 million orders per day and had a cash reserve of US$3 billion, with annual active users reaching 240 million.

Its main competitors in China include online food delivery service site Ele.me, which is backed by Alibaba Group. Alibaba owns the South China Morning Post.