BEIJING, Jan. 21 (Xinhua) -- China's food delivery market registered fast growth last year as young Chinese are increasingly choosing to order food online, a report showed.
The online food delivery market hit 204.6 billion yuan (about 31.9 billion U.S. dollars) in 2017, 23 percent more than the previous year, according to a report by Meituan Waimai, a major food delivery firm.
Almost 80 million users have used online services to order food, the report showed.
Young people were among the most active users, according to Jiang Junxian, director of the China Cuisine Association (CCA).
According to Jiang, while the online food delivery market has seen rapid expansion, there is still room for businesses to grow as food delivery accounts for a relatively small portion of the total catering industry.
CCA data showed that the country's catering market flourished in 2017 with its overall revenue exceeding 3.96 trillion yuan, up 10.7 percent year on year.
According to Yang Wenjie from Meituan Waimai, one of the growth points for food delivery came from smaller cities, which have seen faster expansion in orders compared with major cities.
China's booming online catering market was also boosted the popularity of mobile payment. Around 80 percent of Chinese paid for food via smartphones, according to the CCA.