Starbucks is joining forces with Chinese tech giant Meituan to expand delivery options in its second biggest market.
The coffee chain announced Tuesday that it has teamed up with the popular food delivery app to roll out new offerings for customers in China.
Now, consumers in mainland China will be able to place orders on Meituan’s platform, which boasts more than 667 million active users.
Starbucks aims to have a tab created for each of its roughly 5,000 China stores on Meituan’s platform by the end of the year, where users will be able to check out local events and see photos and videos from baristas of each location.
The move adds to a series of splashy tie-ups Starbucks (SBUX) has brokered in China recently to go after consumers more aggressively.
In 2020, the Seattle-based coffee chain launched an initiative on WeChat, Tencent’s ubiquitous social networking app, to allow users to place delivery orders.
The company has also tried to make deliveries more efficient in China, by “automatically” reallocating “orders to another store if a product is sold out at one store.”
Starbucks’ partnership with Alibaba will continue. But it is launching an exclusive events initiative called “1971 salons” with Meituan, where customers can book parts of Starbucks stores for private events, ranging from birthday parties to business meetings.
China is crucial to Starbucks, with more than 66,000 people employed across nearly 210 cities. The chain made $964 million there in the three months ended October, according to its most recent earnings report.
But the company has faced greater scrutiny there lately, after an investigation by a state-backed newspaper published last December found that two of its stores had used expired ingredients.
The incident caused a frenzy on Chinese social media, and forced Starbucks to order inspections and a retraining of staff at every store in the country. The company also made a public apology.