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Why are Meituan and Alipay more and more similar?



The apps of Meituan and Alipay look more and more alike, and they even seem to have a “twin brother” sense of sight.Meituan is constantly adding financial modules to the App, while Alipay is constantly adding local life.The latest version of the Meituan App puts “Payment Code” and “Bicycle” on the first line of the homepage. The Alipay, which was updated on August 23, merged “Payment” and “Receive Money”, and added “Payment” and “Receiving Money” to the homepage. Travel”. Meituan and Alipay are already very similar in the most important display position in the top bar of the App homepage.

Why are Meituan and Alipay more and more similar? 1

Meituan (top) and Alipay (bottom) App homepage top bar layout

In addition, the two also have many identical business modules at the same time. Meituan is vigorously promoting Meituan Pay, launching Meituan Monthly Payment and Meituan Trust Points, which are the base camp of Alipay. Alipay is constantly adding things to the App, are you hungry, word of mouth, taxi… That is the basic disk of Meituan.

An undeniable fact is thatBoth Meituan and Alipay have changed. They are becoming more and more similar, penetrating each other’s core areas.

Now people no longer care about how many opportunities are there to come back when you are hungry in the food delivery field. What everyone was discussing was whether Meituan or Ali would be better on the big plate of local life.

The deeper reason behind it is that the war between Meituan and Ali is expanding from the well-known food and beverage delivery to a wider range of local life, and even more lucrative financial payments. Meituan starts from eating, drinking and having fun, eating the big cakes of local life, and forming a closed loop in the payment link; starting from the payment tool, Alipay needs to install the territory of Ali’s local retail and become a service platform. They compete for the same battlefield.

It was not accidental that Meituan App cut Alipay payment some time ago. If Meituan builds a complete payment system on its own, then it will be a matter of time before Alipay is discarded.

Ali, known for its “strong organization and mobilization ability,” has finally ceased to be the best one under the momentum of the rising market value of Meituan and the continuous expansion of takeaway share. Wang Xing is still sturdy, but now Ali is starting to fight back with all his strength. Xiaoyaozi (Ali Chairman and CEO Zhang Yong) personally supervises the battle. A tough battle has just begun.

Imitate each other

App changes are a window to see changes in company strategy and play.

Open the Meituan and Alipay apps at the same time, we will find that the two apps after the revision are very similar, and the layout of the homepage menu bar is almost the same.

Why are Meituan and Alipay more and more similar? 2

Comparison of homepage layout of Meituan (left) and Alipay (right)

The four options on the top bar of the homepage are Meituan Scan, Payment Code, Cycling, Real-time Bus, and Alipay Scan, Pay/Receive, Travel, Card Package (different mobile phone systems, the page may be omitted There are differences. The top bar of the Meituan Android homepage is Scan, Payment Code, Recharge, Travel).

In the application center of the next three rows, Meituan and Alipay have a layout of 15 options, and 7 of them are identical products. Meituan has Meituan Takeaway, Dianping, Meituan Hotel, Maoyan Movie, Meituan Taxi, Meituan Credit Card, Alipay is hungry, Word of Mouth, Flying Pig, movie performances, credit card repayment, Didi Travel, these are all Products that compete perfectly on the same track.

On the surface, the layout and product coverage of these two apps are almost identical, and they both meet the needs of users for eating, drinking and having fun in their daily lives.

In the past, Meituan left many people with the impression that it was a food delivery platform, and Alipay was a payment tool, which was their most original function. However, as competition continues to escalate, Meituan and Alipay learn from each other and imitate each other, and their product features are becoming more abundant and more similar.

It was Meituan that imitated Alipay at first.

In June 2019, Meituan announced that it would change its brand color, unified online and offline as “Meituan Yellow”. Subsequently, the Meituan App was revised. The biggest change in the new homepage is the introduction of 4 fixed functional grids in the top bar. This page layout is actually used by Alipay as early as 2016.

What’s interesting is that after the revision, it was not the takeaway or the hotel that appeared on the top bar of the Meituan homepage, but the payment code and bicycle ride. Meituan won third-party payment, bank and small loan licenses in 2016, and insurance brokerage licenses in 2018. It is clear that the heart of entering the financial sector is obvious.

It was this year that it really began to attack Alipay’s base camp. Meituan first tested the “Meituan Trust Score” in April, almost completely matching the “Sesame Credit Score” of Alipay. Then in May, the “Meituan monthly payment” function was launched, and the benchmark Alipay “Ant Huabei”.

Why are Meituan and Alipay more and more similar? 3

A Meituan employee analyzed Shenran Finance, “Meituan wants to stand on its own in payment, trust points is to establish its own commercial credit system, monthly payment is to cultivate users’ payment habits, and this is all about creating a closed payment loop.”

In order to promote Meituan payment, Meituan used various methods.

Starting from the second half of this year, Meituan began to guide users to bypass third-party payments such as Alipay and WeChat and use Meituan to pay. When Meituan Waimai submits an order, the default choice is a “fast payment” button, that is Meituan Pay. Only when you choose ordinary payment, you will switch to the multiple payment method page, but the priority is Meituan Pay, followed by It is WeChat Pay, and Alipay is folded. Some users reported to Shenran Finance that Alipay disappeared from the options after he opened Meituan Pay.

Why are Meituan and Alipay more and more similar? 4

Some users claimed that Alipay payment was cancelled after opening Meituan payment

In the “Black Cat Complaint”, there were nearly a thousand complaints about Meituan Monthly Payment and related products. The content involved “Monthly Payment was opened without knowing it”, “Unauthorized Deduction”, “Unexplained Deduction”, etc. Starting from high-frequency transaction scenarios such as takeaway, Meituan is vigorously cutting into the payment link, copying Alipay’s back path.

Alipay is also fully imitating Meituan.

In March of this year, Alipay carried out the largest revision in its history, adding five modules of “takeaway”, “food”, “accommodation”, “movie performance” and “civil center” to the homepage application bar, and they cannot be deleted or moved. These main functions of Meituan suddenly appeared in a payment tool like Alipay, which made many people feel uncomfortable. Ali’s argument is to upgrade Alipay to an open platform for digital life.

Why are Meituan and Alipay more and more similar? 5

Comparison of Alipay before (left) and after it (right) in March this year

The background at the time was that Ali made a round of high-level personnel adjustments. Ali transferred Hu Xiaoming, CEO of Alipay’s parent company Ant Financial, to take charge of local life. It was also from this time that Alipay became an important member of the “anti-American”.

In May, Alipay was revised again, and the receipt code and payment code on the homepage were merged, leaving the vacant position for “travel”. Since then, Alipay has been completely “beautiful”.

More than just takeaway

The interfaces of the two apps are becoming more and more like behind, the war between Ali and Meituan has become more and more widespread.

“At first I thought it was just a battle for food delivery, but later I found out that I was hitting the entire local life, and then I hit the same city retail, and now I have to hit the payment. Ali obviously underestimated the tragic war.” One is hungry. The employee said.

In April of this year, Huawei and Meituan reached a cooperation. Users can purchase Huawei P40 mobile phones on the Meituan platform. Meituan riders will pick up the goods from a nearby Huawei authorized experience store and deliver them in half an hour. A person in the retail industry was shocked. He told Shenran Finance, “In the past, the essence of e-commerce was retail in different places, but Meituan is turning e-commerce into intra-city retail. In fact, 80% of social retail products are in the same city. occurring.”This is a huge threat to Ali, and Ali must suppress Meituan offline.

As a result, Ali kept sending ammunition and resources forward.

At first it was Wang Lei fighting with Wang Xing on the front line. Ele. Me’s reputation was lost to Meituan, so Ali reduced Hu Xiaomingkong to Ele.’s chairman of the board. At the same time, he sent Alipay’s traffic to Hungry, and later simply took Alipay out. Become the vanguard and directly play against Meituan, and put Ele.me, Word of Mouth, wine tour, bicycles, and even offline supermarkets and retail stores into Alipay. Now, Zhang Yong personally supervises the remote command.

The scope of the battle between Ali and Meituan has risen from one business division to multiple business divisions, and the strategic level has also been greatly improved.This series of actions of Ali is reflected in the product, that is, Alipay is becoming more and more bloated, and all sub-businesses are cut off from Alipay.

Different from Ali’s idea of ​​feeding Alipay’s traffic to local life businesses, Meituan aggregates all external fragmented traffic to the point of Meituan to create Meituan’s “Super App”.

In the past, Meituan had many apps under its umbrella, such as the acquired Mobike and Dianping, the in-house hatched Maoyan movie and Xiaoxiang Fresh. Except Maoyan went out independently, most of the other apps were later cut down or weakened, and Meituan realized “centralization”.

The most typical example is Mobike. After Meituan acquired Mobike in 2018, it quickly abandoned the Mobike App. Users must use the Meituan App to scan the QR code and ride the bike. Later, Meituan simply blocked the WeChat entrance, leaving only the Meituan App. The only entrance. At the time of the acquisition of Mobike, Meituan was valued at US$2.7 billion, of which the brand name “Mobike” was worth 1.6 billion. Within a year, Meituan gave up the Mobike brand and unified it as Meituan Bicycles.

Another example is Dianping. In February last year, Meituan changed its name to Dianping App Department internally. Dianping’s transaction function was weakened, and its core assets such as content reviews, food delivery, and liquor travel traffic were all transferred to Meituan. In September of this year, Meituan, two years after listing, directly changed its company name from “Meituan Dianping” to “Meituan.”

Meituan is frantically injecting scattered traffic from various locations into the Meituan App. The brand, color, and App are all unified to create a super App.Therefore, Meituan App is almost all-encompassing, and food delivery is just one of the business modules.

Why are Meituan and Alipay more and more similar? 6

Ali Meituan Battle Map Mapping / Shenran Finance

When such a super app stood in front of Ali, it would be impossible for Ali to expect to win the battle by relying on Ele. As a result, the super-complex Meituan and the increasingly bloated Alipay have become the two sides of the battle.

The tough battle just started

This year, Ali is 21 years old and Meituan is 9 years old. Ali has already passed the entrepreneurial stage, and Meituan is still a startup company.

Two years ago, perhaps many people did not expect that two companies with such a huge gap in size and equity-related companies would be bayonet each other as they are today.

The past two years have been two years lost in Ali’s local life.After Ele.me was wholly-owned by Ali, it fought with Meituan while integrating internally, and Meituan tightened its fists and attacked everywhere.

Many people underestimate the difficulty factor of Ele.me’s “entering Taobao”. Wang Lei described it as “changing engines while driving a plane.” There is such a detail that Zhang Xuhao, the founder of Ele.me, was a college student entrepreneur. After his young team followed him into Ali, he was dubbed the “student army” by Ali people. This shows that the two teams are difficult to run in.

This integration took two years, and finally ended with Meituan Takeaway and Ele.me’s market share of 73%, which further widened the gap.

Some people attributed the reason to Ali’s intervention. “Ele.me missed the best opportunity to fight. When Meituan was fighting around, Ele.me was still in various integrations within Ali. Many projects acquired by Ali were eventually disabled.” The staff told Shenzhen Ran Finance. When Ali acquired Ele.me in 2018, the merger of Meituan and Dianping had been three years in the past, and internal integration had already been completed. The single mind was to fight, and there was not much worries.

As the battlefield expands from food delivery to a wider range of local life and local retail, Ali began a new round of internal integration at the beginning of this year. Ali’s new round of integration, the final foothold all fell on Alipay. Every update of Alipay App represents another step in Ali’s integration.

As the war escalated, the criteria for judging this battle also changed.

“Takeaway is only part of the puzzle of the entire local life. Winning the takeaway does not mean winning the final game.” said the employee.

In the field of food delivery, Ele.me is not as good as Meituan, but in areas such as offline retail and fresh food supermarkets, Ali has the upper hand. In addition to Are you hungry, Ali also has heavyweight players such as Tmall Supermarket, Hema Xiansheng, Gaode Maps, and Retail Link. These teams that were scattered in different business units of Ali in the past are now under the unified entrance of Alipay. In the battle of Meituan.

On September 9, Beijing Fangzhuang Store, one of the only two baby elephant fresh stores in the country left by Meituan, was closed by Meituan. Prior to this, Meituan had closed five fresh elephant stores in other places. Ali’s Hema Xiansheng is accelerating its expansion. In June last year, Hema Xiansheng had 150 stores nationwide, and now it has increased to 232.

This does not mean that Ali has an advantage. An industry insider believes that it is logical to make payment from the transaction scenario, but the path to local life from payment is too long. Only with Taobao was Alipay. As a result, now Ali is going back and cutting the service industry through Alipay. “But Alipay is essentially just a payment tool.You don’t use a tool to live your life. You must use this tool to live your life.

A real tough battle has just begun.

In order to cope with this protracted war, Ali recalled Lei Yanqun, a veteran of the “China Iron Forces” this year. Lei Yanqun joined Alibaba in 2000. He is a pragmatic faction who fought on the front line and returned to Ali. The mission is to rebuild the ground push iron army.

On the other hand, Wang Huiwen, the No. 2 figure of Meituan and who has been in charge of multiple core business lines, will retire in December this year. Meituan’s talent echelon construction has been put on the agenda. Wang Xing said that after Meituan’s IPO, he focused more on organizational capacity building.

Meituan and Alipay are becoming more and more similar, and the difficulty of this battle is getting bigger and bigger. For Meituan and Ali, from business to strategy, organization, and culture, every link cannot be dropped.