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Chinese Coffee Lovers Can Now Order Starbucks Through Alibaba’s Smart Speaker

By Zhao Runhua / Sep 18, 2019 03:23 PM / Business & Tech

Photo: VCG

Photo: VCG

Alibaba’s smart speaker Tmall Genie can now grant the wishes of Chinese coffee lovers thanks to a tie-up with Starbucks.

Caffeine aficionados can verbally place orders through Genie as part of an expanded partnership between the two companies, Alibaba announced Wednesday.

The e-commerce giant’s food delivery affiliate Ele.me will then process the order and consumers can expect to be sipping on a brew within 30 minutes, Alibaba said.

Previously, Chinese consumers were able to order Starbucks online either through the American coffee chain’s on-demand service app Starbucks Now or through Alibaba’s other e-commerce offerings such as supermarket chain Freshippo, also known as Hema.  

The cooperation will better allow Starbucks to serve tech-savvy Chinese customers, said Molly Liu, an executive at Starbucks China, adding that the voice ordering service will make user experience “truly personal” and more convenient.

The service might also pep up Alibaba’s smart-speaker business in China, as more and more tech companies establish partnerships with existing service providers in a bid to boost sales and user base. Baidu, China’s leading player in the smart-speaker sector, offers users a special membership program jointly supported by Baidu and iQiyi, one of China’s leading video streaming platforms.

Contact reporter Zhao Runhua (runhuazhao@caixin.com)

Related: Chart of the Day: Smart Speaker Shipments Surge

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