Starbucks on Monday announced a strategic partnership with the leading investment firm Sequoia Capital China to tap into China’s growing technological landscape, and to further digitalize its retail experiences and optimize operations.
Through the partnership, Starbucks will make strategic co-investments with Sequoia Capital China, and commercial partnerships with next-generation food and retail technology companies to propel Starbucks digital innovation in China.
The partnership marks Starbucks latest move in its long-term commitment to growing the coffee and retail industry in China, one of its two lead growth markets alongside the United States.
“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 for Starbucks China.
“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.”
The collaboration with Sequoia Capital China enables early access to ideas in the retail marketplace, creating opportunities for strategic investment to evolve the Starbucks business.
“The partnership presents an exciting platform for our portfolio companies to test, commercialize and scale new innovations for China,” said Neil Shen, steward of Sequoia Capital, and the founding and managing partner of Sequoia Capital China.
He added: “Hopefully some of those are going to be made in China, born in China, and can be extended to some of (Starbucks’) stores in America.”
Through the partnership, Starbucks will explore opportunities to embed digital technologies across all dimensions of its retail business to harness the power of data-driven analytics, modeling and decision-making.
These may entail adopting creative solutions to enhance front- and back-of-house operations, such as the use of machine learning and predictive intelligence tools in managing Starbucks growing retail operations in China, or the optimization of Starbucks supply chain through precise, real-time inventory management.
Last month, Starbucks China announced its plans to build a Coffee Innovation Park in the country to extend its global roasting network and lay a foundation for continued business growth and development. Last week, Starbucks also launched a plant-based platform in China, including a new food and beverage menu.