File image: IOL.

CAPE TOWN - A little-known start-up breaks boundaries and climbs ahead of the game and fellow start-ups with the likes of Airbnb and Space X with a $30 billion valuation, reports Bloomberg. 

The Beijing-based company, Meituan Dianping is led by Wang Xing. The million dollar start-up delivers food to people's homes, sells groceries and movie tickets, provides reviews of restaurants and markets discounts to consumers who buy in group. 

This start-up is said to be a mix between Group, Yelp, Foodpanda and Uber Eats. However, it is virtually unknown beyond its home country. 

The company, formed through the 2015 merger of and raised $4 billion in the latest round from Tencent Holdings Ltd., Sequoia Capital and U.S. travel giant Priceline Group Inc. “It’s a quasi-monopoly built on the stomachs of 1.4 billion people,” said Keith Pogson, global assurance leader for banking and capital markets in Hong Kong at consultant EY.

Wang initially started Meituan in 2010 as a group buying site similar to Groupon Inc. where people can get discounts by buying electronics or restaurant meals together. Notably, Dianping was founded in 2003 in Shangai. The focus was mainly restaurant and local business reviews which then expanded into group discounts. The collective value of the two countries when they merged two years ago was R205 billion. 


One of their most popular services is that you can get your car washed while you are at work and while your car is parked on the street. The service then sends a photo to your phone to confirm the job. The service now has 280 million annual active users and works with 5 million merchants. 

Future plans 

Meituan plans to spend a substantial amount of funds over the next three to five years to establish his company as a leading travel booking site. It is further alleged that the company is looking into a collaboration with Priceline as part of the investment. 

This will take on China's biggest online travel site, International Ltd. whose shares fell 8.2% in the U.S trading. Similarly, South Africa has been hit by technological overload with the launch of Uber Eats which turned 1 this month. Uber Eats, an online meal ordering and deliver service, taps into Uber’s network of partner-drivers to deliver meals from restaurants. The food delivery app has over 500 000 downloads since its launch in South Africa. 

Food from well known restaurants with the likes of KFC and Mc Donald's can be ordered and delivered via the app. In true convenient fashion, the food delivery app boasts an 30 minute average delivery time  with deliveries tracked in real time.