Starbucks is partnering with Alibaba to deliver its coffee in cities in China. Starbucks flagged in June that it was pursuing such a tie-up after reporting a sudden slowdown in China sales growth, which it partly blamed on a government crackdown on third-party delivery firms that had previously helped drive orders at its cafes.
The Seattle-based company will begin delivery services in September from 150 Starbucks stores located in key trade zones in Beijing and Shanghai and plans to expand that to more than 2,000 stores across 30 cities by the end of 2018, Starbucks and Alibaba said in a joint statement on Thursday.
The companies will collaborate across businesses within the Alibaba group, including delivery platform Ele.me, supermarket chain Hema, online retailers Tmall and Taobao, and mobile and online payment platform Alipay.
Alibaba Group CEO Daniel Zhang said there was a plan to set up Starbucks delivery kitchens in all Hema stores in the future, but he did not give a timeline. The partnership was also likely a win for internet giant Alibaba which has been pushing hard to expand Ele.me since it fully acquired the company in April.