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Starbucks inks partnership with Alibaba to drive coffee delivery in China

In September the beverage company will start deliveries at its 150 stores located in Beijing and Shanghai, with plans to expand the programmer to over 2,000 stores in 30 cities by the end of the year.

Starbucks Corp. has partnered with e-commerce giant Alibaba Group so that it can begin delivering its drinks and baked goods in China.

The beverage company will test the delivery service at 150 stores in Beijing and Shanghai in September, with plans to expand the programme to over 2,000 locations by the end of the year.

Under the agreement, Starbucks will leverage the Chinese firm’s key businesses, including its delivery platform Ele.me and supermarket chain Hema, to expand delivery services throughout China.

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In Hema’s small-scale supermarkets, the coffee chain aims to build up to 600 'Starbucks Delivery Kitchens' - stations that will fulfil delivery orders for nearby areas - over the next several years. 

“Thanks to the elevated customer experience delivered by our over 45,000 partners, Starbucks is growing and innovating faster in China than anywhere else in the world,” said Kevin Johnson, president and chief executive officer of Starbucks Corporation.

“Our transformational partnership with Alibaba will reshape modern retail and represents a significant milestone in our efforts to exceed the expectations of Chinese consumers.  Starbucks China is one to watch, and I have full confidence in the team that will bring the new innovation behind the Starbucks Experience to life.”

Through the partnership, Starbucks plans to accelerate its sales in the world’s second-biggest economy. 

The Seattle-based firm says it aims to triple its revenue and double its store count in China over the next five years. 

Today, Starbucks has over 600 stores in Shanghai, more than any city on earth, and its largest store in the world is also located in the city. 

Daniel Zhang, Chief Executive Officer of the Alibaba Group, added: “Alibaba is thrilled to expand our existing partnership with Starbucks by leveraging our cutting-edge New Retail infrastructure and digital power to enable an unprecedented experience for consumers.

“This partnership is again a testament to the success of our New Retail strategy.”