- Starbucks has expanded its delivery and online services in China through a partnership with Meituan.
- Customers using Meituan's app can order customized drinks but also book activities in their local Starbucks store such as coffee-tasting experiences.
- The partnership with Meituan comes as Starbucks faces increasing competition from well-funded domestic tea and coffee chains in China such as HeyTea and Manner.
The U.S. coffee giant said that customers ordering via Meituan's app in China will have more customization options. Members of its customer rewards scheme, called Starbucks Rewards, will receive the same benefits using the Meituan app as they would do using the normal Starbucks app in China.
Starbucks also said that it is the "delivery debut" in China of its Starbucks Reserve range of coffees which it markets as a more premium product.
The two companies have also partnered on more offline experiences.
Via Meituan's app, users can reserve areas in select stores in China for private events or sign up to any activities that are organized by a local shop. Starbucks said that 60 stores in the cities of Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen and Chengdu now offer this service, with plans to expand further.
Customers can also book coffee-tasting workshops.
Starbucks has also launched a feature on Meituan where, by the end of the year, each of the coffee giant's more than 5,000 stores in China will have a unique page on the food delivery app. Users will be able to order coffee as well as browse local events and activities.
Meituan is China's biggest food delivery platform with more than 660 million transacting users, offering Starbucks a potentially expanded audience. In China, smartphone users prefer to use so-called "super apps" which offer several services in one. Meituan is one such app.
The partnership with Meituan comes as Starbucks faces increasing competition from domestic companies in its largest market outside of the U.S. Tea-based companies like HeyTea as well as local coffee chains such as Manner are growing in prominence and have been attracting lots of financing.