The partnership was announced today, although the Wall Street Journal broke the news yesterday.
The combined entity will form one of China’s biggest online-to-offline (O2O) service providers, and could be valued at more than US$15 billion.
Both Dianping and Meituan will retain their brand and management structure and will operate their businesses independently.
Dianping is a restaurant review app similar to Yelp. In addition to providing consumer reviews, Dianping also offers group-buying, instant payment solutions, reservation services, take-out delivery, e-coupon promotions, and other O2O services. It has more than 200 million accumulated users.
Meituan, China’s homegrown Groupon, is the country’s largest provider for local services with over 130 million annual active purchasers.
“Over the years, although the two companies were competing and had different focuses, we enjoyed the same goal of helping 10 million merchants to better serve one billion consumers in China, and in this regard, our commonalities far outweigh our differences,” said Zhang Tao, CEO of Dianping, in an official statement.
This is not the first strategic partnership in China. Earlier, Alibaba and Tencent combined Didi and Kuaidi to rival Uber in ride-hailing services.