Meituan Looks to Expand E-Commerce Business. It Wants to Rival Alibaba.
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China’s most significant food items shipping platform is on the lookout to use its mammoth consumer foundation to grow into e-commerce and bolster its current forays as a bicycle-share chief and vacation intermediary. The moves come even as it remains beneath the vise of Beijing’s regulatory grip and its income slows.
Meituan (3690: HK) launched its 2021 economic effects this week, showing an ambitious and maturing enterprise. Analysts continue to be combined on the company’s potential customers, mainly simply because of 3 components: the unknown future of Meituan’s new initiatives, China’s clampdown on tech corporations, and Covid-19.
While Meituan defeat earnings and gain anticipations for the fourth quarter of 2021, quantities were down—for the quarter and for the yr. Profits took a enormous strike, falling from a $737 million get for all of 2020 to a $3.7 billion decline for 2021. Full revenues ended up up 56% for the 12 months, but have however been slowing for 10 months.
“Challenges” had been a recurring theme in the firm’s commentary accompanying its economic statement. “As we entered 2022, we still deal with worries from Covid regulate actions and a weakening use atmosphere,” it claimed. It also blamed the “macro natural environment and organic disasters”—all of which are in fact impediments that have sideswiped a selection of sectors in China about the past 12 months.
“We expect the company’s earnings to keep on being less than tension with new polices on food items shipping and delivery commission and resurgence of Covid-19,” LightStream equities analyst Shifara Samsudeen wrote in a notice this week.
Meituan did not reply to requests for comment.
But Meituan also seems to be heading headstrong into its new and present ventures. Late past 12 months, it declared a improve in its complete strategic positioning. It was relocating from “Food + Platform” to “Retail + Technological know-how,” it stated in a statement. What that mostly meant was that it would carry on its effective leadership position in food stuff shipping and delivery and bicycle-sharing, but would broaden into total-fledged e-commerce.
Meituan is nicely positioned for this significant endeavor, even if levels of competition is fierce. It by now provides a selection of 3rd-social gathering solutions from food stuff to retail products, and has a rising logistics network. And through its delivery and bicycle-share services—which are accessible together with a variety of other companies in a single do-it-all app—it is already on more than 100 million telephones in China, in accordance to iiMedia Investigate.
Meituan’s e-commerce force involves growing the merchandise it offers in its shipping and delivery system, but also raising both equally 3rd-party sellers and its have merchandise. It is developing many spheres within its e-commerce vertical that concentrate on distinctive user desires. Chinese media even claimed that Meituan was establishing actual physical merchants, a great deal like
Alibaba Group Holding’s (BABA) Tmall has completed, from which drivers decide up products to be shipped.
Meituan has also lately opened an overseas purchasing portal for cross-border sales, permitting Chinese buyers to invest in merchandise from formulated markets like the U.S. That is now a crowded field, having said that, dominated by
JD.com (JD), and
Pinduoduo (PDD), with
NetEase’s (NTES) Kaola,
Amazon.com (AMZN), and
Suning (002024.China) having smaller sized parts, in accordance to Analysys.
Even shorter-movie apps like Douyin (China’s primary variation of TikTok) and
Kuaishou Technological know-how (1024.Hong Kong) have started seeing considerable income by revenue of customer merchandise readily available by way of simply click throughs. But income is slowing for the 3 huge e-commerce leaders, Alibaba,
JD.com, and Pinduoduo.
On an earnings get in touch with this 7 days, Meituan went even further than noting that its huge food-shipping and delivery user base would give it an gain diving into e-commerce, hinting that its numerous e-commerce platforms would aid generate up its regular verticals.
So though it bleeds dollars, it nevertheless has the self-assurance of several observers.
“As we consider it is sensible to hold the companies in reduction, we price the company by earnings. We think revenue will rise by 29% in 2022 and 25% in 2023,” Ming Lu, Chinese equities analyst at Aequitas Research, wrote in a take note this 7 days. “We conclude an upside of 20% for the calendar year close 2022, which suggests a rate focus on of HK$160 ($20.44).”
As for the slew of new initiatives that are driving losses, Fitch Ratings mentioned likely ahead it “expects better self-discipline about investment in new organizations that do not generate economic advancement.”
Analysts at Nomura have been extra dour, positing that downside pitfalls of Meituan stock include “intensifying competitiveness from Alibaba in both equally foods delivery and in-retail store usage verticals, and even worse-than-envisioned efficiency in the new initiatives” these kinds of as e-commerce.
While Meituan’s stock fell Thursday, it was even now up practically 15% for the 7 days.