Alibaba-backed Koubei, Zhongshi Capital to invest in Shanghai restaurant booking app

Chinese Internet giant Alibaba’s local services search engine platform, Koubei has teamed up with Chinese RMB fund Zhongshi Capital to invest in Meiweibuyongdeng, a mobile app that allows users to reduce their waiting times at restaurants.

Other investors also include China Television Media, a listed subsidiary of China’s state-owned central television CCTV, according to Xie Xinfa, the Chief Executive of Meiweibuyongdeng, which translates to no waiting for delicious food.

Although the financial details of the investment were not disclosed, it was reportedly said that the company’s series C+ round has increased the value of the startup to a substantial RMB 3 billion (approximately US$ 433 million).

Many restaurants in China have long queues during peak hours and Meiweibuyongdeng, which is founded in 2013, provides solutions to restaurants which helps better manage their booking and customer flow, allowing customers to automatically take a waiting number and to be away during their wait.

Meiweibuyongdeng, operates via and mobile apps, offers restaurants solutions to managing the four major problems often faced by catering businesses which are efficiency, customer flow, capital, and data traffic.

The company says to date it has occupied 90 percent of the market share, having served 60,000 popular restaurants in 200 cities, in addition to its 10 million mobile app users and 20 million followers on its Wechat account, where the company also offers similar services.

The transaction follows a RMB 500 million (US$72 million) strategic investment from Meituan Dianping and Baidu Inc. in October 2015. The company previously raised US$20 million from Tiantu Capital,a private equity and venture capital firm specialising in SMEs. The investment also includes several million U.S. dollars led by Matrix Partners China.

Meiweibuyongdeng says it plans to use the latest proceeds on product promotion and marketing. Besides, the capital will also be used for product development to improve features to meet various demand from consumers as well as an attempt to allow users to book tables in restaurants in a way similar to booking seats in a cinema.

By Vivian Foo, Unicorn Media

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