New Zealand coffee chain pushes into China

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 20th May 2015
Coffee culture is resurgent in China.
Coffee culture is resurgent in China.

Coffee culture is resurgent in China.

A New Zealand-based café franchise group Esquires has signed a deal with a Shenzhen-based property company to open 30 additional stores of its franchise in China.

The latest announcement takes Esquires presence in China up to 150 planned stores. The group currently owns only 21 stores.

BuBuGao (Better Life) Group (BBG) is the Chinese property group that Esquires (operated by Cooks Global Foods) has chosen to partner with. Cooks has announced it intends to expand globally in partnership with local companies in different countries.

BBG is opening its shopping malls for the coffee houses in a swap for a 49 per cent stake in the venture. Cooks will primarily be responsible for managing and developing the stores.

“It’s organic, fair trade and artisan positioning makes it an aspirational destination for a broad cross section of the population,” said BBG Chairman Tian Wang.

China’s taste for coffee and the often associated culture that comes along with the spread of coffee shops is currently booming in China with tea drinking slowly becoming less dominant.

American coffee chain Starbucks already has a large Chinese presence with approximately 1700 stores opened. Starbucks are also planning on expanding the amount of stores they have in the country.

The booming coffee culture has not been without push back. Starbucks itself edured several years of protest after opening in the former imperial palace in Beijing in 2000. Protestors demonstrated against the so-called “invasion by American culture” and the site was eventually closed in 2007.

Esquires currently has coffee shops in Australia, New Zealand, the UK and the Middle East.

The New Zealand-owned chain has set itself a target of managing 800 shops across the world by 2020.