Chinese food-delivery apps in a race to give away nearly free food

Illustration for article titled Chinese food-delivery apps in a race to give away nearly free food
Photo: AFP (Getty Images)

Hey, Postmates, can Americans get a slice of this deal? Quartz reports Chinese food-delivery companies are so steeply discounting their prices in an effort to undercut their competition that customers are paying just pennies for their orders. Chinese tech companies including Didi, (recently purchased by internet giant Alibaba), and Meituan are battling to offer the lowest prices, resulting in one customer paying just 1 yuan—about 16 US cents—for a delivery order of chicken fried rice.


Customers are obviously taking full advantage of all the coupons and discount codes, posting their receipts to social media and bragging about the great deals they’re getting. Isn’t this what capitalism and free markets are all about? Cheap noodles delivered to my lazy, couch-loving self? Come on, America, let’s demand this kind of competition stateside.

In the background of all this cheap delivery is actually a huge battle between China’s tech companies to control the largest share of markets like online shopping and food delivery. According to Quartz, the steep discounts on food delivery are part of a “proxy war” between Tencent and Alibaba, two tech companies vying to control the huge Chinese e-commerce market. Blah blah blah, tech industry wars, we’re just here for the 16-cent fried rice.

Kate Bernot is a freelance writer and a certified beer judge. She was previously managing editor at The Takeout.


Stuff N Fluff

We need this now. I can walk to the local Chinese food place, and I am still not in their delivery radius.