Image: Visual China
BEIJING, January 18 (TMTPOST) — International chain of coffeehouses Starbucks (Nasdaq: SBUX) announced on Tuesday that it has established a partnership with Meituan (HKG: 3690) on takeout delivery service.
Users will then be able to directly order coffee and other items from Starbucks on Meituan Takeout.
Besides takeout service, Starbucks and Meituan will jointly launch a new service that allows users to customize their coffee and learn coffee-making at Starbucks outlets.
Starbucks’ three-year takeout delivery partnership with Chinese food-ordering platform Eleme had expired on December 31, 2021. The two companies did not renew their cooperation.
Starbucks had reportedly talked to a number of potential partners, including SF Express, Meituan and Sam’s Club, before deciding to partner with Meituan.
Users can now order items from Starbucks on Meituan, while there are still some Starbucks outlets still providing takeout-order service on Eleme.
Starbucks is extremely valued by O2O platforms in China. Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba and Starbucks reached strategic cooperation in August 2018, viewing Starbucks as an important partner. Starbucks became the first business partner in Alibaba’s enterprise client program A100. Alibaba’s A100 program is designed to help big enterprises undergo digital transformation.
Alibaba and Starbucks’ A100 cooperation was decided by the two companies’ top management. Alibaba’s CEO Zhang Yong and Starbucks’ CEO Kevin Johnson both attended the press release at which the partnership was announced.
Alibaba acquired Eleme in April 2018 to tap into the takeout delivery market in the country. Although Eleme was already behind Meituan in market share at that time, it could nonetheless help Alibaba penetrate the takeout sector and secure the cooperation with Starbucks.
However, Alibaba appears to be less interested in providing support for Eleme as the gap between Eleme and Meituan Takeout continues to widen. This explains why Meituan was able to get Starbucks to its platform.
It is worth noting that Meituan did not heavily publicize the partnership like Alibaba did three years ago.