UK-based delivery giant HungryPanda has bought Easi for $50 million in a bid to satisfy Australia’s appetite for Asian produce

UK-based delivery giant HungryPanda has bought Easi for $50 million in a bid to satisfy Australia’s appetite for Asian produce
UK-based delivery giant HungryPanda has bought Easi for $50 million in a bid to satisfy Australia's appetite for Asian produce. Photo: Supplied
  • HungryPanda has acquired Melbourne-based delivery platform Easi for $50 million.
  • The acquisition comes just weeks after the UK delivery giant landed $208 million in funding.
  • HungryPanda founder and CEO says the deal is only the first step, as the company eyes a move into instant commerce.
  • Visit Business Insider Australia’s homepage for more stories.

HungryPanda, the Asian food delivery giant based in the UK, has acquired Melbourne-based competitor Easi in an all-cash deal worth about $50 million to shore up its bid to become the world’s dominant force in instant commerce dedicated to Asian produce. 

The deal emerged as part of a double swoop which saw HungryPanda buy up the New Zealand-based delivery service [email protected], just weeks after pocketing just about $208 million in new funding. 

HungryPanda founder and CEO Kelu Liu said these transactions will make HungryPanda the leading Asian food delivery service in both Australia and New Zealand. 

“These acquisitions are an important milestone for HungryPanda in continuing to build the leading overseas Asian food delivery platform,” Liu said. 

“By combining our world-class technology and delivery network with the wider coverage of restaurants we can now offer consumers, I am hugely excited about the future potential for our business in these important markets.”

In finalising the deal, HungryPanda took out its only material competitor in the Australian market, which has now become its largest, with a total of 3.5 million active customers, 60,000 merchants and roughly 40,000 drivers. 

Easi, which was founded two years before HungryPanda in 2014, had about 1.5 million users, 20,000 restaurants signed up to the service, and about 25,000 delivery drivers across 30 cities in Australia, New Zealand, Japan, the UK, US and Canada. 

Kitty Lu, national operations manager at Easi, said the partnership is a strategic one she hopes will cement the position of both platforms in what has become a buzzy market. 

“Easi has been growing nationally at a rapid pace since our launch in Australia and internationally, and we are excited by the potential we can achieve working with Eric and the team at HungryPanda,” she said. 

But for Liu and the team at HungryPanda, expanding upon the options available to users in the Australian market is only the first step. 

“We are dedicated to introducing a complete Asian fresh food and grocery delivery service, and adding local merchants’ activities and targeted discounts for our consumers with our aim to establish a comprehensive one-stop lifestyle for overseas Chinese and local residents who have an interest in Asian food culture,” Liu said. 

Liu’s pitch would make the duo a dominant force in the small but wide open field of instant commerce in Australia. 

The instant commerce business model can loosely be defined as a vertically integrated retail business that delivers any number of different products to its customers less than 15 minutes after they have been ordered. 

The business usually has a handful of distribution centres scattered across the areas they service. After the company receives an order online, the order is routed to the closest centre, where a picker-packer bags the order, and hands it onto a delivery rider. 

It was largely popularised in Germany and other parts of Europe with Delivery Hero, but its origins can be traced back to the US, where goPuff — which secured a mega valuation of $15 billion in July — hit the market back in 2013. 

So far, only MilkRun and Voly have been able to mount serious challenges in the space, with the latter using a recent $18 million cash injection as a launchpad to expand rapidly across Australia. 

Both companies have converged on the battleground of ethics to win over Sydney’s inner city suburbs, while offering a “high quality” product range including fresh produce and eggs, not unlike much of what’s available at Harris Farm.