Meituan, the Tencent-backed ‘one-stop super app,’ files for IPO in Hong Kong

By Catherine Shu for Techcrunch

After months of speculationMeituan, the largest service booking app in China, confirmed that it has filed for a public offering. The company’s IPO application was submitted to the Hong Kong stock exchange earlier today and is being sponsored by Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and Bank of America Merrill Lynch. A spokesperson for Meituan said the company is currently not disclosing information about fundraising amount or valuation. Reuters reports that Meituan wants to raise more than $4 billion.

Meituan was created after Meituan and Dianping, two competitors in the group deals space, merged in 2015 (it is still formally known was Meituan Dianping). Since then, the company has added more services to become China’s leader in O2O (online-to-offline), a catchphrase for goods and services that are purchased online, but bring people into brick and mortar businesses, like movie ticket bookings.

One interesting aspect of the merger is that it brought together two archrivals, Alibaba and Tencent. Alibaba was one of Meituan’s investors, while Tencent backed Dianping. Since then, Alibaba has sold off most of its Meituan Dianping stake to focus on Koubei, its own O2O app, while Tencent has maintained an investment relationship with the company. For example, it led Meituan’s $4 billion Series C last October.

Meituan initially focused on restaurant reservations and food delivery, before expanding into more local services to create what it describes as a “one-stop super app” that allows users to buy movie tickets, make spa and salon appointments, book transportation and hotel rooms, and even pay for bike-sharing program MoBike, which Meituan acquired for $2.7 billion in April. The company says one advantage of its business model is customer conversion between verticals. For example, it claims over 80% of its new hotel booking consumers first began using the app for food delivery or restaurant reservations.

In its announcement today, Meituan said it currently has 310 million transacting users and 4.4 million active merchants. Over the past three years, its revenue grew from 4 billion RMB in 2015, to 13 billion RMB in 2016, before hitting 33.9 billion RMB (about $5.2 billion) in 2017. Meanwhile, its gross transaction value went from 161 billion RMB in 2015 to 237 billion RMB in 2016, then 357 billion RMB (about $54.8 billion) in 2017. Meituan also said that it’s adjusted net loss dropped from 5.9 billion RMB in 2015 to 2.9 billion RMB (about $430 million) in 2017.