Tim Hortons joins forces with Alibaba to entice Chinese coffee drinkers

On Thursday, the Chinese operator of Canadian coffee chain Tim Hortons announced a two-year partnership with Alibaba Group’s (9988.HK) grocery chain in which the two will launch co-branded products.

According to a statement, e-commerce giant Alibaba’s Freshippo will begin sales next month at its more than 300 stores as well as through its official app. Drinks such as Velvet Cocoa Coffee will be available.

Tims China (THCH.O), backed by Tencent Holdings (0700.HK), opened its 500th store in China last month and aims to have a “profitable network” of 2,750 stores in the country by 2026.

Even so, it would lag behind Starbucks (SBUX.O), the dominant foreign coffee brand in China with 6,000 stores and a broad partnership with Alibaba.

Cartesian Capital Group and Canada’s Restaurant Brands International (QSR.TO), which also owns the Burger King and Popeyes brands in addition to Tim Hortons, launched Tims China in 2019.

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