Yet another mega player is entering China’s caffeine war. Global fast food giant McDonald’s has launched an online delivery service for McCafé, its coffee-house-style food and beverage chain, local media is reporting.

Image credit:McCafé

Starting from today (October 8), Chinese users will be able to order from McCafé online through the company’s “iMcCafé Delivery” WeChat mini program, as well as and Meituan apps. The services are currently only available in Shanghai, but the company plans to expand to more cities in the future.

McDonald’s has specially designed a new type of patented lid to avoid spilled beverages during delivery. A professional delivery team will guarantee the order could be finished within 28 minutes, according to the company, two minutes shorter than the 30-minutes delivery of its major rivals Luckin Coffee and Starbucks.

The combined force of China’s warming coffee market and the boom of the “new retail” trend have given rise to the country’s online coffee delivery market. Luckin Coffee marketed meteoric boom since the beginning of this year by leveraging popular market acquisition tactics from China’s internet companies.

For example, the Chinese firm offers large-scale subsidies to attract its first group of users.McCafé is adopting a similar approach for its online launch. Users will get a free drink upon first payment and more coupons will be offered when sharing promotions through social networking platforms.

Like its internet peers, Luckin Coffee managed speedy growth backed by heavy capital. It managed to reach unicorn status in less than a year after securing $200 million in Series A funding round in July. The coffee startup is growing at an astonishing pace and has plans to open 2,000 outlets by this year. Online delivery plus pickups model offer more flexibility for users. It’s also acting extremely aggressive in talent acquisition and marketing plans.

Facing increasing challenges, coffee giant Starbucks decided to a partnership with Alibaba-backed delivery service Shortly after, Luckin Coffee entered a similar strategic agreement with Tencent for the marketing side of their business. McDonald’s entry would further intensify competition in the sector.

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Emma Lee

Emma Lee (Li Xin) was TechNode's e-commerce and new retail reporter until June 2022, when she moved to Sixth Tone to cover technology and consumption. Get in touch with her via or Twitter.

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