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Cooking up an online frenzy

By Zhu Wenqian | China Daily | Updated: 2017-08-30 07:53

Cooking up an online frenzy

A deliverymen of Ele.me waits to pick up an order in Beijing. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Singles appear to be hanging up their spatulas, or guo chan in Chinese, and picking up smartphones to order takeaway meals.

Cooking looks as if it is going out of fashion with people who live alone, boosting the online meal delivery business.

"According to my experiences, there are barely any singles who are willing to cook," said Yang Gengshen, spokesman of Ele.me, one of China's largest online food delivery companies.

Last year, revenue from China's food delivery market surged 44 percent compared with 2015, figures released by consultancy Bain & Co highlighted, although detailed numbers were scarce.

"Sales revenue in the food delivery sector are expected to continue to grow, with the change of consumption behavior of young people," said Neil Wang, president of consulting firm Frost & Sullivan in China.

"Besides, food delivery has helped restaurants to increase their efficiency," Wang added.

In the first six months, fast-growing startup Ele.me reported that its revenue jumped 127 percent year-onyear. Last week, the company announced the purchase of Baidu Waimai, a food delivery division that was part of search engine giant Baidu Inc.

The move will strengthen Ele.me's position in the industry, which is being fueled by singles.

Rival Meituan Dianping also revealed that 65 percent of its orders are from unmarried consumers.

"Chinese cuisine is complicated and requires a great amount of time to cook," said Wang Puzhong, general manager of food delivery department of Meituan Dianping.

"Singles regard cooking as a waste of time."

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