The front-page of Ele.me, one of China's largest online food-delivery provider backed by Alibaba.

Baidu Waimai, the country’s third-largest food delivery service, has rebranded as Star.Ele, after being required to by its major competitor, Ele.me, Yicai.com reported.

The new Star.Ele will serve as a high-end take-out and life service platform that strictly selects merchants and food to uphold a high-standard user experience.

Baidu’s food delivery business was taken over by Ele.me in a deal worth 4.2 billion yuan (US$636 million) in August last year. Ele.me was merged with another Alibaba-back competitor Koubei in October, in order to form a new local life-service company under Alibaba.

The merger is widely interpreted by the industry to counter the newly listed Meituan-Dianping group, whose current largest source of income comes from its food delivery business.

Thus, the rebranding of Star.Ele represents a footnote for the changing landscape of the online food delivery sector, which is shifting from a tripartite confrontation among Tencent-backed Meituan, Alibaba-backed Ele.me and Baidu’s service, to a head-on battle between the first two, according to Technode.

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