Meiweibuyongdeng, a Shanghai-based online restaurant reservation and management service app similar to OpenTable, is in talks to secure an investment from Alibaba, the Chinese eCommerce giant.
The news of the possible investment comes courtesy of Shanghai Daily, although it does not state exactly how much money Jack Ma and Alibaba are planning to invest or precisely how much (if any) ownership they might take in the dining app as a result of the investment.
If Alibaba does choose to invest in Meiweibuyongdeng, it would join China’s other two major dot-com firms, Baidu and Tencent, who have both already invested in the dining app, according to Shanghai Daily.
Meiweibuyongdeng said that it plans to use Alibaba’s investment to improve several of the app’s features, such as allowing users to reserve a table in a restaurant through the app as easily as it is currently to purchase movie tickets on your mobile.
Meiweibuyongdeng received a $500 million investment from Baidu and Tencent-invested Meituan-Dianping, according to Shanghai Daily. The app has been used in 20,000 restaurants in China to make 5 million daily dining reservations.
This type of investment would be nothing new for Alibaba and Ma. Internet Retailer reported in February that Alibaba invested a total of $18.3 billion in 65 companies in 2015, including acquiring eight companies and investing in 15 overseas businesses.
And soon, Alibaba might be able to add a dining app to its list of business investments.