To bolster its growth in China as it looks to reach coffee drinkers in the country, Tim Hortons has reportedly found a partner in Tencent. The Canadian quick-service coffee chain said on a social media account that it has notched funding from the Chinese technology company, but did not disclose the size of the investment known, according to a Chinese based Weibo account.
Tim Hortons said the new funding would be used to create digital infrastructure, including a mini-app based on WeChat, and to add more storefronts. The Canadian coffee chain entered China in February of last year and has roughly 50 eateries in the country as of now, many of which are in Shanghai. The company's goal is reportedly to attain 1,500 locations.
In other news, Starbucks has worked with Alibaba on “new retail” endeavors that encompass Ele.me delivery, shared membership benefits, a Hema distribution tie-up and voice ordering.
Coffee startup Luckin, for its part, has been digital-focused from the start, with an emphasis on app orders and half-hour delivery. Luckin announced earlier this year that it was entering the automated retail market with the launch of a popMINI smart vending machine and a smart unmanned coffee machine, the Luckin coffee EXPRESS. Unmanned terminals were to cover locations like highway service stations, office buildings and airports, and will supplement the company's existing store network. Luckin had 4,507 self-operated locations as of last year’s close.
In April, news surfaced that Luckin Coffee’s board of directors had launched an internal probe into its former COO, who reportedly may have inflated estimate revenues by over $300 million.