Meituan Teams up With Robot Deliveries Startup PuduTech

Multibillion-dollar giant Meituan, with a record-high market cap of $135 billion, continues to bet on in-house delivery robots and its autonomous delivery plan.

Author: Belinda Zhou   

Delivery robot maker PuduTech has completed its Series B funding round on Wednesday, raising 100 million yuan ($14 million) from China's largest food delivery giant Meituan (HKEX: 03690).

The company will use the new capital for development, boosting its sales, and expanding overseas business, Tao Zhang, the chief executive officer of PuduTech, said in the statement.

Hong Kong-listed Meituan said the two parties will join hands in robotics and digital dining services in the future.

Shenzhen-headquartered PuduTech develops indoor distribution robots, which have been widely used in restaurants, hotels, office buildings, hospitals, internet cafes, and KTV. 

Delivery robot BellaBot and PuduBot work in restaurants to deliver food to diners contactless and dish-return Robots HolaBot is used for dish collecting to improve the turnaround efficiency in restaurants.

Since its establishment in 2016, the robot maker has shipped its robots to more than 200 cities in more than 20 countries around the world.

In addition to the indoor autonomous delivery, Meituan plans to be at the forefront of the large-scale commercial application of autonomous delivery in China and around the world, according to Puzhong Wang, the senior vice president of Meituan.

In January 2019 at the CES in Las Vegas, Meituan announced that it landed its first strategic partnerships outside China "aiming to develop a complete industry value chain for autonomous delivery." 

"With the surging demand for food deliveries in China, Meituan is leveraging its platform and scale advantages to apply autonomous delivery technologies in its operations," Wang said in a statement.

Tech giant Meituan was added to the 50-year-old benchmark Hang Seng Index in May, together with Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., (NYSE: BABA; HKEX: 09988) and Xiaomi Corp. (HKEX: 01810) in Hong Kong.

Meituan debuted on the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong in 2018, backed by Tencent Holdings Ltd. (HKEX: 0700), which committed $400 million in Meituan's IPO. Its offering price was HK$69 per share. On Thursday, shares in Meituan closed at a historic high of HK$179.40.

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