Starbucks’ customers in China now have more ways to order drinks.
“Starbucks Now,” a Starbucks app feature that allows customers to order from their mobile phone and pick it up in-store, will now be available on four Alibaba platforms, including local services such as the Koubei app and Alipay, the digital payment app.
“The extended service enables Starbucks to engage with more Chinese consumers through multiple channels that tap into the Alibaba digital economy’s user base of nearly one billion,” Alibaba said in a statement.
On Tuesday (July 21), the companies said they have expanded a partnership that was signed two years ago. The extension of the service to these four apps will increase Starbucks’ reach to include Alibaba’s customers.
“Through this partnership, we will continue to support Starbucks in expanding its digital service offerings across China to meet ever-evolving customer preferences and create long-term value,” Alibaba Group Vice President Toby Xu told Benzinga.
The deal coincides with efforts to jumpstart China’s economy. Many U.S. companies are pinning their hopes for growth on expanding in China regardless of mounting political tensions between Beijing and the White House, Reuters reported.
In June, Starbucks said that 99 percent of its cafes in China are open after months of closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Last month, the company said it anticipates a loss of up to $3.2 billion in the third quarter. As a result, the quick-service coffee chain is predicting 64 cents to 79 cents in net loss for each share, and 55 cents to 70 cents in adjusted losses per share for the quarter concluding June 28.
Earlier this year, the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) launched a pilot program for its new digital currency yuan with 19 businesses, including Starbucks, Subway and McDonald’s. The trial – located in Xiong’an New Area, a city being built south of Beijing – makes China the first country to launch a central bank digital currency (CBDC) or digital currency electronic payment (DCEP). “It’s certain that the DCEP is now in its final testing stage and should be officially launched,” BlockVC, an investment firm, said in a research note.