Chinese eCommerce company Alibaba is reportedly going to invest a whopping $1.25 billion in an online food delivery firm Ele.me, picking up a 27.7% stake.
Ele.me was founded in 2008, and has raised $1.09 billion till date. Its investors include Alibaba’s rivals – Tencent and JD among others, and post this round, the former will become the biggest stakeholder in the food delivery firm.
This is not the only company in the O2O space that the BAT (Baidu, Alibaba & Tencent) are backing. Alibaba has previously invested in Meituan, a website specializing in localized consumer services, offering a selection of local restaurants, bars etc; while Baidu holds a majority stake in another O2O firm Nuomi. Tencent has integrated several O2O firms’ services within its messaging app, WeChat.
In October 2015, two O2O startups – Meituan and Dianping – backed by Alibaba and Tencent respectively, shook hands to become the single biggest such entity in the country. O2O food delivery game is strong in China, evidently all the existing tech giants want a slice of the pie in every major player in this space.