UPDATE1-Chinese food delivery firm Meituan says quarterly revenue jumps

BEIJING, Nov 21 (Reuters) - Chinese food delivery giant Meituan Dianping said third-quarter revenue climbed 44.1%, beating analysts’ expectations.

Revenue for China’s third-biggest internet company by market value came in at 27.49 billion yuan ($3.5 billion) for the July-September quarter, up from 19.1 billion yuan in the same period a year earlier.

That compares with a market consensus estimate of 25.92 billion yuan drawn from 11 analysts, according to Refinitiv I/B/E/S data.

It booked a profit of 1.33 billion yuan, its second consecutive quarter of profit since listing last September.

Meituan’s food delivery division - its core business - reported revenue of 15.58 billion yuan in the quarter, a 39.4% increase from a year earlier.

Competition in the sector has become less cut-throat as companies roll back profit-damaging subsidies, which in turn has allowed Meituan to capitalise on its first-mover advantage over rivals in China’s smaller cities.

According to research firm Trustdata, Meituan has steadily increased its share of China’s food delivery market to nearly two-thirds as of end-June, compared with 59% a year earlier.

Meituan said gross transaction volumes for the quarter rose 33.6% to 194.6 billion yuan, while the annual number of transacting users climbed 14% to 435.8 million.

Valued at some $72 billion, Meituan operates one of China’s most popular super apps, also offering travel bookings, restaurant recommendations, movie tickets, bike sharing and map services. (Reporting by Yingzhi Yang and Brenda Goh; Editing by Edwina Gibbs and Alex Richardson)