Innovative Companies Spotlight: going global with Meituan Dianping

The Innovation Spotlight series runs down some of the world's most innovative companies. Learn what makes organisations like Meituan Dianping some of the most exciting tech giants in the world.

Jonny Fisher
by Jonny Fisher
innovative companies

In the past few months of this series, we’ve explored a lot of US-based companies that you’re likely to have heard about. This week, we’re going global with a brand you may not have heard about – Meituan Dianping. Take note, however, because this unique Chinese company has just won the International Innovation Enterprise Brand award from IDG Global – the world’s #1 tech media company.

Meituan Dianping aspires to be the Amazon of the services industry. Their application connects service providers in a range of industries – mainly the food space – with customers all across China. Within this aggregated business model, Meituan Dianping help their clients to build more efficient services, boost sales and make a better ROI. So far, the company has amassed 54% of China’s food delivery market, with an estimated value of $44 Billion. How have they done it? Let’s take a look at the two main considerations that have driven the growth of this organisation to become one of the world’s the most innovative companies.

1. Openness

We talk a lot about the fact that innovation relies on the combination of multiple existing ideas to create something new. Meituan Dianping have built this idea into the very core of their product offering, focussing on openness and ease of connectivity in order to rapidly scale into new markets. In fact, over 90% of users on their latest hotels booking services had used their food booking service in the past. 

This multi-faceted product offering allows the business to compound growth rates, as well as scale new efficiencies into different sectors with ease. Every innovation made in one sector can potentially be used in another.

Key takeaway: If you’ve just completed a new innovation project, always be on the lookout for ways you can scale it to different areas of the business for compounded gains. This requires great communications management and careful stakeholder selection to make sure that new ideas reach the appropriate corners of your organisation. Idea Drop gives you a place to store all your actioned ideas and enable visibility across your entire organisation. 

2. Assets

The premise of compounding gains is something that the Meituan Dianping business model returns to again and again. Their focus on rapid growth isn’t just about building a greater market share – it’s also about building a bank of assets that can be leveraged for new growth opportunities. Right now, the most powerful of those assets is data. 

With customers from hundreds of sectors flooding in, Meituan Dianping has access to an enormous quantity of data which can be recycled to provide diverse opportunities for optimisation, B2B product development, and market research. Today, the app functions as a study platform, an advertising platform, a wholesalers platform and much more all alongside their customer-facing booking feature.

Key takeaway: Be sure to revisit your organisation’s definition of an asset, as well as what you personally consider to be a valuable commodity. You might be surprised at how valuable intangible things like knowledge, data and time can be when you compound the gains across the entire business.


Meituan Dianping’s biggest innovation is the way in which they repurpose and compound value from their existing assets. It’s why they position themselves for rapid market growth at the expense of profitability, just like Amazon did during their meteoric rise. It’s likely you’ll be hearing much more about this fascinating business.

To learn more about innovation systems and processes in some of the world’s best companies, you can read more in the Innovative Companies Spotlight series on our blog.

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