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Wednesday Jul 11 2018

Canada's Tim Hortons to open 1,500 stores in China

FILE PHOTO: Tim Hortons employees serve shareholders before the company's annual general meeting in Toronto, May 8, 2014, photo: Reuters

Canadian coffee chain Tim Hortons is pushing into China with plans to open 1,500 outlets in the world’s second largest economy over the next 10 years, the company said on Wednesday.

Restaurant Brands, which owns Tim Hortons as well as Burger King chains, said its Chinese restaurants will be opened under a master franchise joint venture with private equity firm Cartesian Capital Group.

“China’s population and vibrant economy represent an excellent growth opportunity for Tim Hortons in the coming years,” President Alex Macedo said in a statement.

China is a fast-growing market for coffee chains such as Starbucks Corp , with local startups like Luckin Coffee also vying for share of the market amid a burgeoning cafe culture.

Starbucks already has more than 3,000 stores in China, and said in May that it aims to triple China revenue and double cafe numbers to 6,000 by 2022.

Hortons, which has more than 4,700 outlets across the world, has seen sales fall over the past two years, with its brand reputation also taking a hit.

The chain was recently criticised for its reaction to minimum wage increases in Ontario, while a group of franchisees alleged that Restaurant Brands was not keeping to the terms of a 2014 deal to buy the chain.

In response, Restaurant Brands said in April it plans to spend C$700 million to revamp the coffee chain.

Hortons’ partner in its China venture - Cartesian Capital - is already involved in Burger King’s China operations.