(File photo: social media)
BEIJING, July 5 (Xinhua) -- China's food delivery market saw rapid expansion in the first half of this year as more people chose to order food online in an effort to curb the spread of COVID-19, an industry report showed.
Food delivery is estimated to account for about 20 percent of China's catering industry in 2020, said the report released by the Meituan Research Institute and the China Hospitality Association.
The report predicted that the market will continue to expand within the next three years to reach 1 trillion yuan (about 142 billion U.S. dollars).
Affected by the novel coronavirus outbreak, restaurants saw fewer dine-in customers and had heavy rent and payroll burdens, a survey conducted by the Meituan Research Institute showed.
Many restaurants turned to food delivery to increase their income and tide over difficulties. Some 55 percent of the businesses surveyed said they will develop their dine-in and delivery services equally in the future, the survey showed.
By the end of 2019, the number of food delivery consumers reached 460 million, roughly half of the country's internet user population.