China’s popular food delivery service Ele.me (which translates to “Hungry?”) raised a whopping $630 million in Series F funding at a $3 billion valuation right before the weekend, according to Tencent Tech (link in Chinese).
The round propels it into the number three spot of China’s top-funded startups, with about $1.1 billion in capital raised to date. Group buying website Meituan slips to fourth place, also with about $1.1 billion — though it could be argued the two are now joint-third.
Meanwhile, taxi-hailing app Didi Kuaidi and smartphone maker Xiaomi are still ahead in spots one and two respectively.
Didi has raised in the region of $3.4 billion at a reported $15 billion valuation in its fight against Uber (who hasn’t been having the easiest time in China of late, despite its best efforts), while Xiaomi has raised about $1.4 billion at a $45 billion valuation.
Ele.me previously raised $350 million in January from investors including CITIC Private Equity, Tencent (who owns WeChat, China’s popular mobile messaging platform that also supports food delivery services), ecommerce giant JD.com, and Sequoia Capital.
The latest round saw these existing investors back for more, plus the addition of Chinese retailer Hualian Group and private equity firm Gopher Asset.
The company now claims to have 300,000 restaurants on its platform across 260 cities in China, records close to $9.5 million in daily orders from about 40 million customers (98 percent of which are through mobile), and employs 10,000 people.
Ele.me leads the country’s online-to-offline (O2O) food ordering market with 40 percent market share, according to Beijing-based research firm Analysys International. (Meituan and Baidu are second and third, respectively).
Many of China’s largest Internet companies are this year investing in their own O2O push. Alibaba, for example, integrated O2O services into its Alipay ewallet last month — part of a wider $1 billion push into the space. And in May, the ecommerce giant embraced new visual QR-style codes for O2O transactions.
This may not be the last big investment we see into an O2O service in China this year.