Tencent-owned review site Dianping to close US$850m funding round
Dianping, China’s largest review and daily deals website similar to Yelp, is close to sealing a US$850 million investment round.
Dianping, China’s largest review and daily deals website, is close to sealing a US$850 million investment round, according to news portal QQ Tech.
The news comes about three weeks after reports said Dianping, which has over 190 million monthly active users in about 2,300 Chinese cities, was in talks to raise around US$800 million from a group of investors including Tencent, Singapore state-fund Temasek, private-equity firm FountainVest Partners, and Chinese conglomerate Wanda Group.
Today's report does not go into the terms of the deal, but quoted an unnamed industry veteran as saying Dianping initially only aimed to raise about US$300 million and no more over fears of diluting shareholders’ stakes in the Shanghai-based company, in which Tencent is already a major investor.
But Dianping had to up the ante after Alibaba-backed competitor Meituan raised US$700 million in a new financing round that valued the restaurant review website at US$7 billion, the person said.
“There aren’t many good O2O [online-to-offline] projects in the country now, and after Meituan’s new funding many fund houses were knocking at Dianping’s door,” he said.
In February 2014, Tencent bought a 20 per cent stake in Dianping in a deal the terms of which were not disclosed, but is believed to be in the US$500 million range. Dianping was soon after incorporated into Tencent’s WeChat, the most popular messaging app in China with more than 468 million monthly active users.
Dianping did not respond to a request to comment.
Global investors are pouring billions of dollars into Chinese online service startups, betting on the companies’ rapid growth in the world’s most populated country with over 600 million internet users and more than 500 million smartphone users.
They are hoping the businesses will build on the rapid rise of smartphone use on the mainland, turning a simple search into a shopping trip or meal based on the user's location.
Chinese web firms are battling to link online content with offline services. Tencent, Alibaba and Baidu, which owns group-buying website Nuomi, are all competing to establish dominance in the field.
In addition to listing, reviews and group-buying, Dianping also offers online restaurant reservation, take-out service, e-coupon promotions, and other online-to-offline services.
According to statistics published online at the end of 2014, Dianping has more than 190 million monthly active users. It has published more than 60 million reviews, and listed more than 12 million local businesses covering around 2,300 Chinese cities.
Outside of China, the website also carries information about 100 countries popular with mainland tourists, such as the US, Japan, Australia, and Thailand.
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