Meituan, China’s top daily deals startup, has managed to double its sales revenue during 2013. Meituan CEO Wang Xing took to Sina Weibo (spotted by Technode) late on New Year’s Eve to say that the deals site had managed to bring in RMB 100 million ($16.4 million) in daily sales value on December 31.
It’s likely not the highest ever daily sales volume for the site, but it was a nice, round number at a convenient time for Meituan, exemplifying a period of growth during a year in which the startup grew aggressively while being the only Chinese deals site to be transparent with its numbers. In this ferociously competitive and very fragmented market in China, no rivals seem keen to divulge numbers when everyone is fighting for survival and the vast majority of deals sites are not making a cent of profit.
Extrapolating that $16.4 million daily number, Meituan is close to pulling in $500 million per month in sales revenue. That’s more than double its rate in May 2013, when the company revealed monthly transactions worth $155 million.
A Meituan insider speaking to Sina Tech says that the deals site is now profitable, but no exact figures are given. That’s in line with the company’s aim of hitting profitability by the end of 2013. Most deals sites in China are still bleeding cash in an industry focused on low prices and which needs a lot of manpower to go out and persuade retailers to offer discount packages online. Rival site 55Tuan also claims to be profitable.
China’s daily deals market was worth $1.7 billion in Q1 2013. Meituan is the king of the – literally – hundreds, maybe thousands, of startups that popped up in the wake of Groupon (NASDAQ:GRPN), but it’s actually Alibaba’s daily deals portal (called Juhuasuan, a part of its popular Taobao e-commerce marketplace) that sells the most deals online in China. Meituan has 18 percent market share of this fragmented sector in Q1 last year, up against 30 percent for Alibaba’s Juhuasuan.
(Editing by Josh Horwitz)