Ele.me, China’s food delivery app, looks to expand beyond borders and market segments

Company Overview

Established in 2008, Ele.me is a web and mobile based food delivery platform that serves more than 70 million users across 300 plus cities in China. The Shanghai-based company has also equipped local eateries with fulfillment technology to mange billing needs, therefore also serving as a communication platform between users and restaurants.

Estimated Revenue

Ele.me has an estimated revenue of $124.5 million. The Alibaba-backed startup has so far participated in 8 rounds of funding, totaling $2.4 billion. Other Ele.me Investors include Didi Kuaidi, GSR Ventures among others.


Zhang Xuhao is the Co-founder & CEO of Ele.me. Xuhao and his associates started catering to the food industry initially and developed the online ordering system in the following years.

Why Bother?

Despite its “startup” label, Ele.me has already captured about 35 percent of China’s online food delivery market. Delivering more than 5 million orders a day, it has become the third-largest online transaction platform in China.

Unusual for a tech startup, elle.me started its early days using pen and paper to take down orders. Today, it delivers more than 5 million orders daily, making it the third-largest online transaction platform in China. Moving forward, the company signaled that it may be expanding international to Singapore and Hong Kong.

At home, the company continues to establish its dominance through innovation and strategic partnerships.

In addition to upgrading its internal logistics and infrastructure, which now includes real-time features that enable users to manage orders, deliveries and payment, Ele.me is forming strategic partnerships to stay ahead of the game. In 2016, it partnered up with Didi – the leading ride hailing app in China, to bolster its intra-city logistics.

Although only 5 per cent of China’s population is familiar using online food delivery services, the industry has been expanding rapidly in recent years – thanks to the increasing adoption of technology across the country. Last year, China’s online food delivery market grew by 33 percent compared to 2015.

Ele.me is also leading the industry in meeting China’s growing demand for the online-to-offline (O2O) services. Instead of building an in-house app, many merchants with physical locations across China are piggybacking on those already with a great market share, such as Ele.me. Last year, China’s e-commerce giant Alibaba invested $900 million to add Ele.me on to its O2O ecosystem. O2O is being targeted by Alibaba as it expands beyond running China’s largest e-commerce marketplaces.