Starbucks targets China for technology investments
A coffee giant plans to substantially increase its investment in retail technology in its second-largest growth market.
Starbucks is partnering with investment group Sequoia Capital China to make co-investments in innovative Chinese tech firms. The coffee chain seeks to obtain early access to leading-edge retail solutions, while technology providers will have access to its scale, expertise and infrastructure.
Specific solutions Starbucks hopes to invest in include operations management, supply chain and inventory optimization, and data-based analytics. The retailer also said it wants to "explore opportunities to embed digital technologies across all dimensions of its retail business" in China.
“Starbucks has an insatiable appetite for innovative ideas that augment the Starbucks Experience and keep it at the forefront of China’s retail landscape,” said Belinda Wong, chairman and CEO of Starbucks China. “China’s vibrant environment is a rich ground for entrepreneurship that has seen the emergence of many local innovators that we hugely admire. The partnership enables Starbucks to tap into the most dynamic Chinese technology entrepreneurs in order to delight our customers with meaningful innovations created in China, for China.”
Another major China-based initiative Starbucks revealed is a plan to open what it calls a state-of-the-art Coffee Innovation Park (CIP) in in 2022. The $130 million facility will incorporate a roasting plant, warehouse and distribution center the company says will help drive “smart and sustainable” coffee manufacturing. Starbucks aims to have 6,000 stores in China by 2022.