How to Use Food Delivery Apps in China

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GAB Team

O2O food delivery apps in China is huge. In recent times, China has leveraged technology to make the lives of its citizens more convenient than ever before. Especially in the major cities of China, life without technology seems almost impossible!

That’s because, today, the modern Chinese consumer uses technology in their everyday lives to purchase goods, services, transport, make reservations, and so on.

Technology in China has evolved so much, that it’s created a food delivery culture in which people nowadays prefer to use apps to purchase groceries or takeout. The best part is that orders are instantaneous, and food/groceries arrive at your doorstep in less than 1 hour!

If you’re a foreign brand looking to get your product in front of the eyes of millions of consumers, then you need to understand and pay close attention to the most popular food delivery apps that are currently on the market.

You’ll find some of the biggest supermarkets, restaurants, and products located within these apps due to the large scale of brand awareness and brand reach that food delivery apps provide.

In case you’re not entirely familiar with food delivery apps in China, this article will cover the most popular food delivery apps right now and teach you how to use them. If you’re looking to introduce your product to Chinese consumers, it’s essential that you have an online presence within one of these apps.

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The Rise of Food Delivery Apps in China

The food delivery app market in China has seen exponential growth, driven by a society that values efficiency and convenience. This surge is not just about getting food quickly; it’s about the variety and accessibility it offers.

From local delicacies to international cuisine, these apps have something for everyone, catering to diverse tastes and preferences. The rapid delivery times, often less than an hour, have only added to their appeal, making them a preferred choice for millions of urban dwellers.

This trend reflects a broader shift in consumer behavior, where digital solutions are increasingly favored for everyday needs.

How to Use Food Delivery Apps in China

For the purposes of demonstration, we will be using Meituan Waimai to show how you navigate food delivery apps in China. Meituan Waimai is a food delivery app, and can be accessed either as a mini-app within the Meituan app, or downloaded as a separate app. Meituan Waimai rivals as the two leading food delivery apps in China for a number of reasons.

When you enter the app, you’ll first need to register for an account. You can either login with your WeChat account, or using your phone number.

Once registered, you’ll be taken to the main interface. The majority of food delivery apps follow the same design and structure when it comes to their main interface. But don’t be intimidated! Food delivery apps are intuitive and easy to navigate – even if you can’t read Chinese!


Meituan Food delivery app in china


Just like with the majority of food delivery apps, you’ll first see results for the nearest restaurants/stores based on your GPS location. You can change your location by simply pressing your current address on the top left corner of the app and entering a new address.

In the middle of your interface, you’ll see several icons that you can choose to browse through. These icons represent different categories, such as restaurants, bakeries, supermarkets, fruits & vegetables, and even medicine!

Choice, choice, choice!

Entering either category will provide you with an endless list of stores that are close to your address. The closer they are to you, the quicker the delivery service!

And the filter categories don’t end just yet. If you pressed the restaurant category, you can further refine your search results based on the type of cuisine you are looking for. For example, if you fancy eating fast food, you’d click on the burger icon.


Chinese Food Delivery app


Just like with other SEO rankings, search result rankings are determined by the store’s rating, location, and popularity amongst consumers.

Most Chinese consumers are honest with their ratings, so any rating above a 4.5 guarantees that the store restaurant/establishment provides high-quality products/services.

Meituan Waimai is particularly one of the most popular food delivery apps due to the plethora of choice that Meituan Waimai users can choose from. While you’ll find restaurants/stores on multiple food delivery apps, you’ll also find some restaurants available exclusively on certain apps.

Choosing your Order

Once you’ve decided on your chosen restaurant/store, you’ll then be taken to their menu. From there, you can choose which items to order and at what quantity. Many stores have a minimum purchasing requirement to deliver (which you can check at the bottom of the screen), so keep a note of that.



Once you’ve finalized your order, you’ll be taken to the payment section of the app. Here, you’ll need to choose which address you’ll be receiving the order from, as well as what time you’d like the order to arrive. Food delivery apps will automatically choose the closest time, but you can always choose a specific time slot in case you’re not at home.



After that’s finalized, you’ll then need to pay for the order. Depending on the app, you may have to pay via a specific payment service. In the case of Meituan Waimai, the app allows users to use WeChat Pay, or to connect their bank card to their Meituan account and pay directly from their account. users are required to pay via Alipay, as the app is owned by Alibaba.

After a successful payment, you’ll then be taken to a map which will update the status of your order. You can even track when your order has been sent out, and the movements of the courier taking the order to you!

Current Popular Food Delivery Apps in China

Which food delivery apps should you try and get on? There are many food delivery apps to choose from, each with their own unique perks. We’ve compiled a list and narrowed it down to the most popular and widely used food delivery apps in China. These include:

  1. – Meituan Waimai’s rival app. Similar to Meituan Waimai, offers a plethora of choice and the user experience is almost identical.
  2. Hema – A supermarket chain and food delivery app that has recently exploded in popularity in China’s major cities. Think of Hema like Amazon Fresh. The supermarket chain offers an array of fresh and imported produce and goods. Moreover, the supermarket also offers users to order freshly made food within the app. Hema has definitely established itself as a force within the food delivery industry.
  3. Dingdong – Unlike Hema, this food delivery app does not have offline stores and is strictly online. Dingdong is attractive to particularly Chinese consumers due to offering low prices and its wide availability. Consumers use this app to purchase fresh fruit & vegetables, as opposed to imported produce.
  4. Sherpas – Foreigners living in China have difficulty with the language barrier. To solve this, Sherpas is a food delivery app that caters to foreigners. The app is in English and offers a wide range of Western restaurants to choose from (some exclusively found in the Sherpas app). A trade-off however is that prices are higher compared to Chinese food delivery apps.

For more information on how to get your business/product in China’s popular food delivery apps, contact Gab China now.

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