Alibaba acquires Beijing-based intelligent catering management startup Keruyun

Alibaba Group has acquired all shares in Keruyun, a Beijing-based intelligent catering management solutions provider, as the Chinese e-commerce giant aims to strengthen its business layout in the on-demand local life service market.

Hangzhou-based Alibaba completed the acquisition through a local life service unit, Alibaba Local Life Service, Keruyun said in a WeChat post on Monday.

Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed. But Chinese online publication All Weather TMT reported in January 2020 that Alibaba Local Life Service paid 800 million yuan ($114 million) to proceed with the deal.

Alibaba Local Life Service was created in October 2018 through the merger of its online food delivery platform Ele.me and local food & lifestyle service Koubei amid increased competition with rival Meituan-Dianping.

The deal will form “an integrated product and service matrix” that combines the offerings of Koubei, Ele.me and its logistics sub-service Fengniao Delivery, as well as the software-as-a-service (SaaS) restaurant management solutions developed by Keruyun, said Keruyun in the post.

The Koubei and Ele.me platforms currently have a combined 245 million annual active users, while Keruyun delivers products and solutions to over 500,000 stores across 102 cities in China.

“We [Alibaba and Keruyun] share an identical goal, which is to help local life service merchants reduce costs and increase revenues,” said Wang Lei, president of Alibaba Local Life Service. “It is an inevitable trend [for players] in the local life service industry to realize the digital reconstruction by combining online and offline operations and upgrading both their software and hardware.”

“The integration of Keruyun into the Alibaba ecosystem will certainly speed up the process,” said Wang.

The addition of Keruyun will also assist Alibaba in achieving “a prioritized target” to help restaurants and other lifestyle-related local merchants reboot their businesses dampened by the spread of the coronavirus, said the company.

The eight-year-old Keruyun primarily provides merchants with one-stop operation and management solutions, software and hardware that cover table reservation, order placement, take-out order tracking, bill payment, capital and personnel management, among others. Its customers include the country’s largest hot pot restaurant chain Haidilao, Singaporean food and beverage brand BreadTalk, and Chinese tea brand RoyalTea.

The company previously raised at least four funding rounds from investors like Sequoia Capital China, Baidu, Chinese investment firm Prime Mont VC, and Beijing-based private equity firm Kaixing Capital.

Singapore Reporter/s

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Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

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Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.