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How to: order food online in China

Afbeeldingsresultaat voor eleme meituan

Food delivery in China is a massive market. The economic & technological developments over the years have led to increased convenience in ordering food online. Another significant result of this growing industry: speeding yellow and blue e-bikes. Please be aware of your surroundings when you cross the road.

The ordering process of food, drinks, groceries and even out-of-the-ordinary goods has been simplified. What do you need to complete your first order? Only 3 things: a working mobile phone, internet, and a linked Chinese bank card (with sufficient balance).

Who are these ‘yellow and blue’ speeders, and how do I make use of their services?

Meituan Waimai

Meituan delivery men/women are known for their yellow outfit, they are easily recognizable. Meituan Dianping is one of the biggest apps on the consumer market, with all compassing services in the leisure & travel industry. The food delivery service can found under the Waimai 外卖 tab. The app strategically locates delivery men all over the city, near food streets and department stores, and then matches him/her with the restaurant of your choosing. Your food will be picked up and delivery straight to your door. Currently, Meituan is the market leader in the food delivery industry with approximately 60% of the market share.

How to use Meituan?

Step 1) First of all, download Meituan (美团) in your app store.

Step 2) Register an account on the app! A verification sms code will be sent to your phone. 

Step 3) Select a restaurant! This can be done by clicking the “HOME” “首页” button and then in the left corner you can find “FOOD””美食”. Currently, there is no English version of the app available, but the app is visibly strong with icons and pictures, so it is doable to navigate. After selecting the food tab, the app will select popular restaurants nearby your selected location, as well as give you the option of selecting popular food categories.

Step 4) Get your order ready!

Important information such as restaurant name, location, estimated delivery time, shipping fee and average cost per person are displayed. 

After you picking your restaurant, you will be directed to options screen and you can choose what you want to order. Your item will be added to your shopping cart after clicking the yellow button next to an item. When your basket has everything you want, you can simply click on the “CHECKOUT””去结算” button.

Step 5) Add your adress!

Step 6) Pay your food!

In order to pay for your food you have a few options, WeChat Pay, AliPay and Apple Pay. As China’s biggest tech company Tencent has invested in Meituan, of the three famous payment options, only WeChat Pay is available for usage in Meituan (for competitive reasons). 


Eleme and Meituan are similar, with the difference that Eleme is more heavily focusing on food delivery, as can be seen in their name: “Are you hungry”. However, they do offer services such as purchasing movie/train/flight tickets as well. Eleme is the second biggest platform, capturing around 35% of the industry and growing fast. One of the reasons is their heavy promotion and marketing strategy. In addition, Eleme’s tries to position itself slightly under Meituan’s average pricing, by simply charging restaurants less, resulting in lower prices.

These two main players have a nearly identical ordering process & offering. Design, promotions and pricing are slightly different and many users simply stick with the app they are most comfortable with. 

Signing up with Eleme is a straightforward process as can be seen below.

Before browsing options, you select your location.

After you have done this, you select your restaurant and food, before completing the order by paying through one of the common payment methods. As Eleme is backed by Alibaba (main competitor of Tencent in many aspects), the first option is Alipay, however other options such as WeChat pay are available too.

If you would like to know more, or need assistance with registering/using food delivery apps, please leave a comment or reach out to us at 

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