On Thursday, Chinese bubble tea chain Naixue (formerly known as Nayuki) said it is open to franchises, with the aim of reaching lower-tier markets that are currently not covered by directly-managed stores. Naixue’s franchise threshold is much higher than that of rival HeyTea, with a single-store investment of at least RMB 1 million ($140,000) required, according to details posted on Naixue’s official WeChat account. The Hong Kong-listed company is also requiring prospective partners to have more than two years of direct operating and management experience in the food industry. The decision follows the move by Naixue subsidiary Lelecha and competitor HeyTea to recently diversify their long-standing direct sales models as competition heats up in China’s new-style tea industry. The decision also highlights the urgency for Naixue to increase profitability, with the company’s losses more than tripling to RMB 461 million in 2022 from a year earlier. [Naixue, in Chinese]