Priceline Group hedges its Chinese bets with Meituan Travel tie-up

Priceline Group has taken part in a $4 billion Series C funding round for Chinese ecommerce giant Meituan-Dianping, and has also secured a new strategic partnership between its APAC-focused accommodation site agoda.com and its new partner’s dedicated travel and leisure brand, Meituan Travel.

The Series C round has been led by another Chinese behemoth, Tencent. Meituan-Dianping was created in 2015 when group buying platform Meituan merged with reviews platform Dianping. Its 280 million active customers are able to access restaurant reservations, on-demand delivery, hotel and travel bookings and entertainment options through a single mobile application.

It launched Meituan Travel earlier this year.

The combined business raised $3 billion in a Series B at the start of 2016 and the current round values it at a reported $30 billion.

The official announcement about the Series C does not specify how much Priceline has invested or what stake it now has. There are eight other investors named, including Sequoia Capital, Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and Tiger Global Management.

The release quotes Todd Henrich, global head of corporate development for The Priceline Group:

“We are excited to support Meituan-Dianping, the well-recognized leader in China’s local services industry. Our commercial relationship between Agoda.com and Meituan-Dianping will help each company benefit from the other’s expertise and capitalize on the opportunities presented by China’s exceptionally large travel market.”

The Meituan tie-up is not the first time that the Priceline Group has taken the investment and strategic partnership route into China – it has a stake in and co-operation deal with Ctrip, having pumped almost $2 billion into the Chinese OTA market leader.

Priceline now has stakes in and partnerships with China’s two biggest hotel sites. Meituan Travel says it is China’s second biggest hotel booking platform and has grown its market share to 36%. Its best ever day saw it book 1.47 million room nights in a 24-hour period.

Related reading from tnooz:

Meituan Travel aims to dominate China’s domestic market (May17)
China mega-merger brings O2O to the top table, travel and leisure on the menu (Oct15)

Image by BigStock.

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