Singaporeans love food and for convenience’s sake, they are even willing to fork out at least $3 more to have meals delivered to their doorstep.
As the hunger for convenience drives demand, it’s no surprise that food delivery apps are becoming increasingly popular — but none of them actually caters to the Chinese-speaking community in Singapore.
This was what spurred China-born Alex Tian Ye, 36, to start up his own food delivery platform to cater to this overlooked group.
According to Alex, many of his Chinese expats friends prefer to call Chinese eateries to arrange for a delivery rather than order via a food delivery app.
It’s not that they aren’t savvy enough to navigate the app, explained Tian. In fact, food delivery apps are widely used in China.
However, the food delivery apps here are in English so those who are not proficient in the language have difficulty using the app.
Moreover, the existing apps in Singapore offer a limited variety of traditional Chinese dishes so there weren’t much options for them to choose from.
First Chinese Food Delivery Service In S’pore
Alex, who owns software and e-commerce firms, invested S$100,000 and spent about five months to develop Delivery Chinatown.
It’s a Chinese food delivery platform housed within messaging app WeChat, which was launched in December last year.
When asked why he chose to develop it on WeChat, Alex told TODAY that since Chinese users are already using it, he didn’t have to spare effort in trying to convince them to install a new app.
What makes the platform unique is that it operates only in Chinese language, and delivers food from over 50 Chinese restaurants, which are no longer limited to only Chinatown area.
At launch, the app only delivered to customers in the Central Business District (CBD) from 11.30am to 2pm on weekdays.
A flat delivery fee of $3 was charged for orders in the CBD or within 2.5km from Chinatown, except for areas beyond that.
Now, the platform has expanded its delivery zone islandwide as well as introduced advanced ordering. There is no delivery fee, but users have to pay a ‘service fee’ instead — it varies depending on the restaurants, and starts from $0.
It also allows users to order dishes from different restaurants and consolidate them into a single order without any additional fees.
Users can also utilise the group delivery feature, which allows those in the same location to consolidate orders via a shared link.
Might Be A Standalone App In The Future
Discussing business challenges, Alex shared that the limitations of having the platform on WeChat is that its payment options are not extensive.
Users cannot pay with local credit and debit cards, and can only pay via cash on delivery, WeChat Pay or PayNow.
That said, there is a fair chance that Delivery Chinatown may become a standalone app in the future, said Alex.
In April, Delivery Chinatown had over 1,000 registered users and more than 100 monthly orders. Alex aims to significantly grow the latter figure to 40,000 monthly orders by the end of the year.
Featured Image Credit: Vulcan Post