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Starbucks CEO Confirms Delivery Partnership with Alibaba

By Aug 2, 2014 Dining

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In a move of corporate synergy that would bring a tear to Adam Smith's eye (presumably, I dropped out of first year economics), Starbucks and Alibaba are partnering to expand the coffee giant's delivery and digital presence in China, Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson told CNBC. In the agreement, the global chain will leverage all of Alibaba's platforms, including delivery platform Ele.me and supermarket chain Hema, to expand delivery services throughout the PRC. "We're going to integrate a Starbucks virtual store into all of the Alibaba Group properties," Johnson told CNBC in an interview. "This means that a customer that uses Alipay or Taobao or Tmall or Hema has an integrated Starbucks virtual store similar to the mobile app embedded right into that experience," the CEO said. "That opens up 500 million or more active users of those apps that will have access to Starbucks." The move comes on the heels of a comparatively weak quarter for Starbucks: "While Starbucks' revenues in the Chinese market grew 17 percent, its same-store sales, a key metric for retailers, fell 2 percent."

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