Technology boosts online delivery business in China



China's online food delivery sector is continuing to expand with big players like Eleme quickly raising their market share.

Eleme’s CEO Zhang Xuhao said that technology and big data is crucial to gaining an edge over the competition.

Online food delivery platforms are providing greater choice and convenience, allowing customers to order from a wide array of restaurants with a single tap on their mobile phone. Eleme is known as one of the most successful apps, with one out of five active users daily.

The company believes that logistics is the key to success. Eleme promises delivery within 30 minutes and the only way to make it happen is through technology, says Zhang.

“In ten years, this area will be driven by technology,” said Zhang, “I think big data and AI will be the most powerful tools around to increase efficiency.”

Eleme CEO Zhang Shihao speaking at a forum.

Besides regular meals, the firm expanded its business to other types of on-demand delivery services such as flowers, groceries, and daily supplies from convenience stores.

“We will still do a lot of things on logistics, technology, and platform, and will make it more powerful, like Amazon. Amazon is a marketplace, and also a logistic technology company,” Zhang added.

A close-up of Chinese delivery men.

Online food delivery companies have been required to train their delivery riders amid concerns of delivery riders breaking traffic rules, racing against the clock to deliver in time.

Zhang said technology might also be part of the solution.

“We will be able to track their reckless behavior on the roads, and keep them in check through our app," said Zhang.

Experts said that China's online delivery business would account for more than ten percent of the restaurant industry’s total revenue by 2020. Smart technology for delivery service is expected to ensure safety and sustained development in the sector.