Meituan Dianping, China’s largest on-demand services provider, is ramping up efforts to expand its power bank sharing business nationwide, local media TechPlanet reported on Thursday, citing people familiar with the matter.
Meituan’s power bank sharing business has been in operation since March after six months preparation, an internal source told TechPlanet, adding that the team for this business has a size of over 1,000 people, and the number is still growing.
Many merchants have started to provide Meituan’s power banks in their stores, including some stores in Shenzhen, Shanghai, and Chongqing, according to industry sources. Rather than the original white-and-green version, these new power banks will appear in the iconic “Meituan Yellow,” which is used for the company’s logo and uniforms worn by their delivery staff.
Merchants who put Meituan’s power banks in their shops will get more online exposure from the food delivery giant, said the report, without providing specifics.
When contacted by KrASIA, Meituan said its power bank business has covered nearly 100 cities across China, and the company is currently recruiting talent nationwide. Users can rent a power bank by scanning the QR code on it using the Meituan app. However, Meituan did not disclose any details on the cities that already adopted the service.
Meituan re-entered the power bank sharing business in August 2019 after their previous attempts in this market failed. The firm rolled out the service in cities including Shijiazhuang in Hebei province and Qingdao in Shandong province in 2017, but quickly stopped further expansion after three months due to “a lack of synergy with its other businesses.”
The popularity of smartphones and the mass adoption of mobile payments have helped increase the demand for shared power banks in China over the past few years. Charging stations have been placed in some of the busiest venues like restaurants, malls, libraries, and airports, coming to the rescue when users’ mobile phones run out of battery.
The market volume of shared power banks in China was RMB 7.9 billion (USD 1.1 billion) in 2019, and is expected to reach RMB 9.2 billion in 2020, according to Chinese consulting agency iResearch. Major players include Jiedian, Xiaodian, Laidian, and Energy Monster.