Tim Hortons Partners with Tencent for Huge Chinese Expansion

By Barnaby Lofton, May 14, 2020

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Get hyped Canadians, Tim Hortons is planning a Chinese expansion with the help of tech giant, Tencent. On Tuesday, the coffee and donut chain announced via its official Weibo page that they will use undisclosed funds from Tencent to upgrade its sales platforms both online and offline. For instance, they will look to improve their WeChat Mini Program, a popular and efficient point of sales in the Chinese market as well as open more brick and mortar stores. By North American standards, coffee consumption in China still lags as most consumers are avid tea drinkers. Tim Hortons however, sees this as a “big growth opportunity.”

TechCrunch noted that Starbucks has already partnered with Tencent’s rival Alibaba, making Tencent “an obvious ally.”

Tim Hortons, also simply known as ‘Timmies’ has a special place in Canadians’ hearts. It was founded in 1964 in Hamilton, Ontario and named after a famous Canadian hockey player. Timmies is known for its iconic ice capps, Timbits, double-doubles, bagel BELTs and much more.

In February 2019, the first Tim Hortons in China opened in Shanghai, which was met with a massive two-hour queue. In the Chinese market, the company is branded as Tims Coffee House (Tims咖啡) and has opened around 50 storefronts across the Middle Kingdom. In 2018, Tims outlined its plans to open 1,500 stores in China in the next decade with support from Cartesian Capital Group, however this timeline may be slowed down due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. 

As for where new locations will pop up? Our guess is a good as yours, one netizen cheekily commented, “Tencent investment, it should be opened in Shenzhen immediately [huge grin emoji].” 

[Cover image via Tims咖啡]

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