Meituan Dianping, China’s online food delivery and O2O giant, made a robust debut on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange on Thursday (September 20). The company’s shares closed at HK$ 72.65, 5.29% above the initial offering price, according to Xinhua Net.
After Hong Kong’s second-biggest tech listing of the year, Meituan’s market value surged to HK$398.94 billion ($50.9 billion), making it worth more than the Nasdaq-listed Chinese e-commerce giant JD.com and the Hong Kong-listed smartphone maker Xiaomi. This means Meituan is now the fourth largest internet company in China by market value, behind only the BAT (Baidu, Alibaba, and Tencent).
The IPO also bumped the net worth of Meituan’s 39-year-old founder, Wang Xing, to $5.3 billion. “We often say: we need ‘long-term patience’. The more faith you have for the future, the more patience you have for the present,” Wang said in an internal letter to employees (in Chinese) after the debut.
Wang said going public is a milestone for Meituan, although that has never been the company’s goal. “The capital market will have fluctuations, we don’t need to pay too much attention to the short-term highs and lows of stock prices,” Wang urged his employees to focus on creating value for their customers. He believes that “in the long-term, the value [the company] creates will eventually be reflected by the stock prices.”
Tencent-backed Meituan started out as a Groupon-type service but has evolved into a super platform whose services span from food reviews and ride-hailing to on-demand delivery.
The IPO debut reflects investor confidence that the loss-making Meituan will eventually come out on top in the race against Alibaba-backed Ele.me and other on-demand delivery services. Big players in China’s food delivery market still rely on cash-burning tactics such as heavy discounts to win new customers and gain market share. Meituan said it plans to use money from the IPO to prepare itself against fierce competition in food delivery.