Meituan losses narrow as it fends off Alibaba


HONG KONG • Meituan Dianping posted a narrower than anticipated loss after the Chinese Internet services giant managed to keep Alibaba Group Holding Ltd at bay and expand rapidly in food delivery and travel.

The fast-growing company backed by WeChat-operator Tencent Holdings Ltd posted a loss of 1.43 billion yuan (RM872.3 million) in the March quarter compared to the 2.7 billion yuan loss that analysts projected.

Revenue jumped 70% to a better than projected 19.2 billion yuan as it deepened forays into newer arenas from online travel, to ride-hailing.

Billionaire founder Wang Xing held his ground in a cash-burning battle with Alibaba’s and Fliggy for on-demand services.

The Beijing-based company managed to lift its food delivery market share by 2.1 percentage points to 63.4% in the first quarter compared to the previous three months, according to researcher Trustdata.

Its results offer battered investors hope after a share price that’s tanked 16% since listing in September.

Wang has pledged to keep a control on costs with Meituan this year kicking off a restructuring that will see loss-making bike-rental arm Mobike pull out from most of its overseas markets.

It also shifted to a platform strategy for ride-hailing, allowing users to book cars from other services.

Longer term, the company intends to focus on core initiatives such as restaurant management services.

“Meituan’s focus on curtailing its new initiatives such as ride-hailing and bike-sharing will likely reduce its losses,” Vey-Sern Ling and Tiffany Tam, analysts with Bloomberg Intelligence, wrote before the results. — Bloomberg