Tech giant Tencent partners with Chinese Luckin Coffee

Chinese tech conglomerate Tencent has partnered with Luckin Coffee to capitalise on China’s expanding coffee market, the South China Morning Post reports. Deputy General Manager of Tencent's payment platform WeChat Pay, Lei Maofeng, says the partnership “will create a new lifestyle of ‘smart retail’ through tie-up on user traffic, technology exploration, application scenarios and management abilities”. Luckin Coffee launched in November 2017 and operates 1003 chain outlets across China and is valued at more than US$1 billion. Luckin Coffee Co-founder Yang Fei says the collaboration will help increase Luckin’s popularity, as well as update its current smart operation system. Technology news site 36Kr reports the partnership will focus on marketing both businesses, promoting the WeChat Pay app as well as the coffee chain. According to Statista, the Chinese coffee market will generate a revenue of US$2.087 billion in 2018 and is expected to grow annually by 14.3 per cent. The partnership follows a similar deal between Starbucks’ Chinese stores and Alibaba announced in August. Collaborating across key businesses within the Alibaba ecosystem, including, Hema, Tmall, Taobao and Alipay, Starbucks plans to pilot delivery services beginning September 2018.

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