Chinese travel search platform Ctrip plans to contribute around US$100 million to the ongoing US$400 million fundraising round of Indian food discovery platform Zomato, says the Times of India today, citing people familiar with the matter.
This would be Ctrip’s second investment in India after MakeMyTrip, a local firm that provides similar services like online flight and hotel booking. MakeMyTrip had raised US$330 million, with Ctrip, South African conglomerate Naspers, and others throwing their support behind it.
Chinese capital is betting heavily on Indian tech firms, especially in verticals which have become relatively saturated in the East Asian country. Food delivery in China is a crowded space, dominated by Ele.me, Meituan and Didi.
It’s not the first time Zomato is taking Chinese money. In February 2018, Zomato had raised US$200 million from Alibaba affiliate Ant Financial. A week later, Swiggy, one of Zomato’s strongest rivals in India, said it had locked in US$100 million from Meituan-Dianping. Earlier this month, Swiggy was also reportedly in talks with Tencent to raise US$650 million.
Yet, while Swiggy appears to only have a presence in India, Zomato has expanded to cover 24 countries, including the US, most of Southeast Asia, and a number of European markets. It does not currently service China, according to its website.
An anonymous source told the Times of India that while the deal is “purely financial”, Ctrip and Zomato “may explore synergies”. Ctrip could potentially leverage Zomato’s technology and offerings to provide outbound Chinese tourists into India and other international markets with a more comprehensive travel experience, covering the restaurants they can visit and food delivery options. Alternatively, if Zomato has any plans to enter China, Ctrip’s resources and insights might come in useful.
India’s online food delivery market has been seeing a 15% growth every quarter, according to Redseer Consulting, and is expected to carry on at the same rate.
Editor: Nadine Freischlad