Alibaba eats up Ele.me food delivery service

Chinese eCommerce giant Alibaba has invested $1.25 billion in online food-delivery service Ele.me,

It marks Alibaba’s second acquisition in a week worth more than $1 billion after it took control of Southeast Asian online department store Lazada.

For the Ele.me purcase, $900 million came from Alibaba Group Holdings, and $350 million from its internet finance arm Ant Financial.

It is expected the cash injection will help Ele.me compete with such rivals as Baidu, Meituan-Dianping and Alibaba’s own Koubei.

Ele.me, which translates from Chinese to “Hungry Now?”, is part of the online-to-offline (O2O) services trend in China, which includes taxi-hailing and restaurant-review apps that link smartphone users with offline businesses.

Meituan-Dianping earlier this year raised more than $3.3 billion from investors, including Alibaba rival Tencent Holdings, giving the firm a value of more than $18 billion.

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