We have a dusty list of "Sino experts" who condescendingly told us online grocery ordering would never work in China. "You don't understand Chinese culture. Freshness...very important. Quality...very important."
Here's what should be understood 1) culture and history itself are just reactions to technology. 2) China's bottomless appetite for online groceries has triggered one of those Battle of the 500 Armies for rulership over this new kingdom.
Yesterday it was Dada and its cash flow woes. Today, the yang: Dingdong and Miss Fresh filing for U.S. IPOs. Both, like Dada, see spiking revenues and realize losses. Both are awash in private cash, albeit seeking public financing. What happened to fliers stuck in door handles tp advertise your delivery service?
"That's the magic of Internet scale," says Edward Lehman. "But also the curse. Companies that want to compete on basic but necessary services have to go big, with deep pockets, and also carve out some competitive advantage. We're fielding great interest in pre-IPO shares of grocery platforms. Ironically, the contender we like best, Miss Fresh, isn't offering any."