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Starbucks To Partner Sequoia Capital For Tech Investments In China

Starbucks Corp. has formed a strategic partnership with venture capital firm Sequoia Capital China to co-invest in technology companies in China.

The Seattle-based coffee giant said that in addition to strategic co-investments, it will make commercial partnerships with "next-generation food and retail technology companies" to propel Starbucks digital innovation in China.

The partnership marks Starbucks latest move to grow the coffee and retail industry in China, one of its two lead growth markets alongside the U.S.

"China's vibrant environment is a rich ground for entrepreneurship that has seen the emergence of many local innovators that we hugely admire. 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," said Belinda Wong, chairman and chief executive officer of Starbucks China.

Starbucks noted that beyond the direct benefits from the collaboration with Sequoia, it hopes to utilize its retail expertise, scale and infrastructure to help realize the growth aspirations of like-minded purpose-driven companies in China.

The company said that through the partnership, it will explore opportunities to embed digital technologies across all dimensions of its retail business to utilize the power of data-driven analytics, modelling and decision making.

In March, Starbucks said it plans to build a Coffee Innovation Park in China to extend its global roasting network.

Last week, Starbucks announced the launch of a plant-based platform in China, including a new food and beverage menu. The company said it is partnering plant-based innovators in China, Beyond Meat and Oatly, to expand plant-based ingredients and products.

Starbucks is working with plant-based Beyond Meat to create three new dishes - Beyond Beef Pesto Pasta, Beyond Beef Classic Lasagna, and Beyond Beef Spicy & Sour Wrap.

In addition, Starbucks said it is introducing oatmilk to the core beverage menu in all stores across China with Oatly. Customers at all Starbucks stores across the Chinese mainland can customize their Starbucks beverages with oatmilk.

Starbucks is also partnering with OmniPork to offer two dishes featuring a plant-based protein - OmniPork Vietnamese Style Noodle Salad and OmniPork Mushroom Sauce Grain Bowl.

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