The food delivery business is big money in China, and Starbucks is aiming to tap it through a new tie up with China’s Alibaba. The coffee chain will start deliveries in September at its 150 stores located in Beijing and Shanghai, with plans to expand the program to its over 2,000 stores in 30 cities by the end of the year. Alibaba, which is the Chinese version of Amazon, has a huge ecosystem of companies under its umbrella, such as payment service Alipay, and Ele.me, a food delivery platform similar to Deliveroo and Uber Eats with 3 million delivery riders. The program will see Starbucks use Ele.me to fulfil delivery orders while also partnering with Alibaba’s Hema supermarkets to establish dedicated delivery kitchens. These “Starbucks Delivery Kitchens” will begin in Shanghai and Hangzhou, before rolling out to the rest of the country. So the next time you’re in Beijing or Shanghai and want to sip a cuppa, you can just whip out your phone and get it sent to you in minutes.
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