(RTTNews) - Luckin Coffee Inc., Starbucks Corp.'s biggest rival in China, said it has launched Luckin Tea as an independent brand. Luckin Tea is the company's tea-based beverage line.
The China-based coffee chain also announced the launch of a pilot program for its new retail partnership model to support the expansion of Luckin Tea. The company has named actor-singer Zhan Xiao as the brand ambassador of Luckin Tea.
By launching an independent Luckin Tea brand and new retail partnership model, Luckin Coffee intends to accelerate its expansion into China's lower-tier cities and further increase its overall market share throughout the country.
Jian Liu, Chief Operating Officer of Luckin Coffee, said, "To further capitalize on the opportunity in the freshly-brewed tea market, we are strategically launching Luckin Tea as an independent and complementary brand and rolling out the store footprint nationwide."
In addition to freshly-brewed tea drinks, Luckin Tea stores will sell a standard range of classic freshly-brewed coffee.
Luckin Tea stores will focus more on "leisurely" scenarios by targeting locations in shopping malls and other lifestyle-centric commercial areas, while Luckin Coffee stores will continue to expand its presence by primarily focusing on office locations.
Luckin Tea stores will initially be rolled out in second, third and fourth-tier cities, whereas Luckin Coffee will focus on first and second-tier cities.
Luckin Coffee said its pilot retail partnership model is different from the traditional franchise model and will not charge an upfront partnership fee or franchise fee.
Luckin Coffee operates 2,963 stores across 40 cities in China. The company plans to open more than 4,500 stores by the end of 2019.
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