Retailers, let's face the challenges
of innovation together

Céline Delacharlerie
4 minutes, the equivalent of Deliveroo in China, wants to become a platform for lifestyle services delivered “in 30 minutes”. was born in 2008 and is one of the two main actors in China on the delivery of meals. The Chinese gem was acquired by Alibaba in 2018 for $9.5 billion, which uses this network of deliverers to test new New Retail concepts with partners like Starbucks, or for its own hyper-localized delivery services “in 30 min.” such as its supermarkets Freshippo/Hema and its health service Alibaba Health. In July, announced that it was transforming itself into a lifestyle on-demand service platform, with the vision of becoming “your neighbourhood shopping centre in an app”.

In a few years, food delivery has become extremely popular in a country where everything goes to 100 per hour and time is money. now has more than 75 million active users per month, mainly under 35, 65% of whom are professionals in white-collar jobs and 21% are university students.

Besides the delivery of meals, offers other nearby services. For example, you can ask to shop at the supermarket, line up for you in a popular store, find massage centers or karaoke rooms (a very popular practice in Asia) nearby, book for you, or get discounts by making a bundled order with your friends. So it’s almost the entire local economy of your neighborhood that is accessible with a few clicks in the app.’s main competitor is Meituan-Dianping, also one of the most dangerous Chinese actors today for the giants Alibaba and Tencent, who want to become “Super Apps”. Meituan-Dianping offers a wide range of services, including hotel booking, taxi booking, purchase of airline tickets, etc. In 2019, held 46.5% of the market share for meal delivery, and Meituan 51.8%.

Why download the application?

Meilleurs commerçants

Select the best merchants around you.

Each time you open the app, you automatically get merchants recommendations at 5km depending on the category you choose. For example, you can get recommendations of places for a tea 5km from the place you choose. offers you a maximum of information to help you make your choice: the rating of the customers, but also the monthly sales, the waiting time, the minimum price, the coupons available.


Place an order with your friends

For most restaurants available on the app, there is a minimum order to reach, which means you have to order for a certain amount for the merchant to accept the order. With a feature to invite friends to join your order, your order can reach the required amount.

Live streaming

Watch live streaming videos to better understand merchands offers being strongly linked to Alibaba, it is not surprising to find a live streaming feature that Alibaba uses extensively on its e-commerce platforms. Live streaming has become a real new sales channel in China.


Ensure your order will be delivered on time with “On Time Plus” service

You can pay a little more for your orders to be delivered on time. This amount varies depending on the order, and you can get coupons in return if the delivery is late.


Contributing to tree planting and climate change

Alibaba launched a mini-program several years ago to “gamify” and encourage responsible consumption, called “Ant Forest”, which is very popular in China.Users can earn green points to grow a virtual tree, which will be planted in the real world. On, at the time of payment, you can choose not to use plastic cutlery and crockery and earn 16g of green points on Ant Forest.


Having groceries delivered to you without having to go to the store

An deliveryman will shop for you, and deliver you in a few hours.

Courses en direct

Do your food shopping live from agricultural markets

This feature is very popular with Chinese, especially during the COVID-19 period.


Get your medicine delivered

You can choose medications from 10 disease categories depending on your symptoms, or choose your pharmacy directly.


Deliver flowers or cake to loved ones to celebrate an occasion

You can have flowers or cakes delivered on a specific date. The price is often lower than if you bought it yourself in store.

Faire la queue

Save time by asking to line up for you

In some popular stores in China, the queue can be long. Asians will often choose shops with tails because it is a quality signal. will line up for you in restaurants or shops, to save you time!

Céline Delacharlerie
Celine is the correspondent of the Echangeur in China. On the lookout for retail innovations, she identifies and analyzes the latest retail and consumer trends in Asia.
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