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Cooking up tasty profits
2017-09-18, ZHU WENQIAN

Single people appear to be hanging up their spatulas, or guo chan in Chinese, and picking up smartphones to order takeaway meals.

Cooking looks as if it is going out of fashion with people who live alone, boosting the online food delivery business.

“According to my experiences, there are barely any singles who are willing to cook,” said Yang Gengshen, spokesman of Ele.me, one of China’s largest online food delivery companies.

Last year, revenue from China’s food delivery market surged 44 percent compared with 2015, figures released by consultancy Bain & Company highlighted, although detailed numbers were scarce.

“Sales revenue in the food delivery sector is expected to continue to grow, with the change of consumption behavior of young people,” said Neil Wang, China president at consultancy Frost & Sullivan.

“Besides, food delivery has helped restaurants to increase their efficiency,” Wang added.

In the first six months, fast-growing startup Ele.me reported that its revenue jumped 127 percent year-on-year. In late August, the company announced the purchase of Baidu Waimai, a food delivery division that was part of search engine giant Baidu.

The move is expected to strengthen Ele.me’s position in the industry, which is being fueled by the singles market.

Rival Meituan-Dianping also revealed that 65 percent of its orders are from unmarried consumers.

“Chinese cuisine is complicated and requires a great amount of time to cook,” said Wang Puzhong, general manager of the food delivery department at Meituan-Dianping.

“Singles regard cooking as a waste of time.”


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