A coffee and donut from Tim Hortons is seen at a Coquitlam B.C., location on April 26, 2018. Tim Hortons has signed an exclusive master franchise joint venture agreement with Cartesian Capital Group to develop and open more than 1,500 Tim Hortons restaurants throughout China over the next 10 years. (Jonathan Hayward/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Canada’s Tim Hortons to expand to China

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Canada’s iconic coffee and doughnut chain Tim Hortons said on Wednesday it plans to open 1,500 outlets in China over the next decade, hoping to capitalize on the country’s vibrant economy and a growing cafe culture.

To establish a foothold in the world’s second-largest economy the Canadian café chain is partnering with the Cartesian Capital Group, a private equity firm, that has already worked with Tim Hortons parent company Restaurant Brands International and the Kurdoglu family to develop the Burger King brand in China.

“We have two main priorities at Tim Hortons: building and strengthening our brand in Canada; and expanding our iconic Canadian brand to the rest of the world,” said in a statement Tim Hortons president Alex Macedo. “China’s population and vibrant economy represent an excellent growth opportunity for Tim Hortons in the coming years.”

Canada’s Chinese community has already embraced Tim Hortons and the company hopes to replicate its success in China, Macedo said.

Growing global footprint

A customer leaves the Tim Hortons coffee shop after purchasing coffee and timbits during its opening in San Pedro Garza Garcia, in Monterrey, Mexico, October 27, 2017. (Daniel Becerril/REUTERS)

Tim Hortons has more than 4,700 restaurants in Canada, the United States and around the world.

The expansion into the Chinese market adds to Tim Hortons’ global footprint, after last year’s entry into the Philippines, Britain, Spain and Mexico.

“We are excited to expand our partnership with Restaurant Brands International to bring Tim Hortons to China,” said Peter Yu, managing partner of Cartesian.

“Tim Hortons has a long, rich history of providing guests with quality food and premium coffee. We plan to expand that tradition to China, drawing on 20 years of experience building businesses in China and around the world.”

The two companies did not release financial details of the transaction.

China’s love affair with coffee

A barista pours milk into a coffee at the La Tercera cafe in Beijing, China May 6, 2017. (Thomas Peter/REUTERS)

China’s coffee and tea consumption is expected to climb to 750,218 metric tons by 2020, from 693,748 in 2015, according to Statista.

Shanghai alone has an estimated 6,500 coffee houses, with small chains, independent stores and bakeries battling for a slice of a market that research firm Mintel says could grow to 79 billion yuan ($11.84 billion) by 2022 from 60 billion yuan this year.

Starbucks Corp is aiming to have 10,000 coffee shops in China within a decade, more than the United States.

With files from The Canadian Press and Reuters

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