#Asia India’s Zomato enters the Philippines, to compete head-on with Foodpanda

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food zomato

India’s Zomato has set foot in Manila. The company just announced the launch of its online ordering service in the Philippines, its fourth market since it brought the service out of India this year.

But like most companies expanding to new territories, Zomato isn’t building its service from scratch. It tapped Quick Delivery, one of the Philippines’ largest delivery and takeout services, as a partner.

Quick Delivery has exclusive tie-ups with over 1,300 restaurants, giving Zomato a leg-up.

“We believe strongly in the leadership of Quick Delivery and what they’ve built and achieved,” says Tanmay Saksena, Zomato’s global business head for online ordering.

Race heats up

Zomato’s entry follows that of Rocket Internet’s Foodpanda and only means one thing: the rivalry between the two will heat up more.

Zomato is a restaurant search and discovery app, much like Yelp in the US. In the past couple of years, it has expanded to include complimentary services – it acquired US-based NexTable to get into restaurant reservations in April.

In May, it began offering online ordering to 14 cities in its home market India. It has since moved to Dubai, Melbourne, Johannesburg, and now Manila.

Foodpanda is not taking the whole thing sitting down. While Zomato was diving into online ordering in India, Foodpanda was consolidating its position in the country with the acquisition of platforms JustEat and TastyKhana. It has also gobbled up competitors in Mexico, Russia, Brazil, Eastern Europe, and Southeast Asia, bringing its restaurant partners to more than 45,000 in 40 countries.

While Zomato still leads the food space with tie-ups with over 1.4 million restaurants across 23 countries on its search app, Foodpanda is racing ahead in online ordering.

Foodpanda recently rolled out a logistics play, setting up its own delivery service in India and Pakistan. Essentially, this benefits restaurants with no such capacity or those who want to cut on delivery costs. In the Philippines, the company bought City Delivery, the counterpart of Zomato’s partner Quick Delivery.

Will we see a similar move from Zomato? We don’t know yet. What’s certain is things are gonna get more interesting, considering both companies have deep pockets: Foodpanda has raised US$318 million so far, versus Zomato’s US$223.3 million.

Food-loving

Manila therefore is the next battlefield. Zomato’s Tanmay believes the local delivery market “has the potential to be one of the largest in Asia.”

The market is tech-savvy so that’s definitely a plus for services like Zomato. And its over 100-million population spends 30-35 percent of their per capita income on food, he reckons. “Filipinos seem to have an insatiable appetite, often eating out up to six times in a day – breakfast, brunch, lunch, merienda (afternoon snack), dinner, and midnight snack.”

What’s left to do is to get more people into the habit of doing takeouts and deliveries.

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