Tim Hortons teams up with Alibaba to woo Chinese coffee drinkers

The operator of Canadian coffee chain Tim Hortons in China said on Thursday it had forged a two-year partnership with Alibaba Group’s (9988.HK) grocery chain that will see the two launch co-branded products.

E-commerce giant Alibaba’s Freshippo will begin sales next month at its stores, of which it has more than 300, as well as through its official app, it said in a statement. Products will include drinks such as Velvet Cocoa Coffee.

Tims China (THCH.O), whose backers include Tencent Holdings (0700.HK), opened its 500th outlet in China last month and has set its sights on having a “profitable network” of 2,750 stores in the country by 2026.

Even so it would still lag Starbucks (SBUX.O), the dominant foreign coffee brand in China with 6,000 stores and which also has a wide-ranging partnership with Alibaba.

Tims China was founded in 2019 by Cartesian Capital Group and Canada’s Restaurant Brands International (QSR.TO), which also owns the Burger King and Popeyes brands in addition to Tim Hortons.